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Bulger pleads not guilty as families seek justice

BOSTON - Legendary mobster James "Whitey" Bulger pleaded not guilty to a 32-count indictment, which included 19 murders, during his arraignment last Wednesday at federal court in South Boston.

Shackled and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit as he shuffled into the courtroom, Bulger winked and nodded at his two brothers who sat in the front row, former state Senate President William Bulger, and former clerk of the Boston Juvenile Court, John "Jackie" Bulger, who stared ahead stoically during the proceedings.

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Sitting in three rows on the opposite side of the courtroom were family members of some of the victims allegedly murdered by Bulger.

After the arraignment, Bulger's public defender, JW Carney Jr., dispelled rumors about a possible decline in the 81-year-old defendant's cognitive abilities.

"I've found Mr. Bulger to be very smart, to have an excellent memory, and to be exceptionally courteous and respectful to me," Carney told a group of reporters outside the courthouse.

Not surprisingly, family members of the victims had less flattering things to say about the notorious gangster.

Stephen Davis, whose sister Debra was allegedly strangled to death by Bulger in 1981, told reporters after the arraignment that it is outrageous that the taxpayers were footing the bill for the defense of such a despicable criminal.

Although Massachusetts does not have the death penalty, Davis said that some form of capital punishment would be fitting in this case, such as "sticking a needle in his arm and watching him close his eyes, or hanging him in the middle of Southie on the beach."

Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, were arrested on June 22 in Santa Monica, California, where they were hiding with $800,000 in cash and an assortment of weapons.

Greig, who is accused of harboring a fugitive, is the subject of a bail hearing, which has been continued until later this week. Bulger is due back in court on September 14 for a pre-trial conference.