Bulger checked for irregular heartbeat

Feb. 21, 2013 at 3:52 PM
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PLYMOUTH, Mass., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- James "Whitey" Bulger, awaiting trial on murder charges, was examined for an irregular heartbeat, raising questions about his upcoming trial.

Bulger, 83, was quietly examined in a Plymouth, Mass., hospital last week, near the Plymouth County Correctional Facility where he is incarcerated, at least the third time he was taken from the jail to a hospital since 2011 to check an irregular heartbeat. His recurring health problems could keep him from his trial, scheduled for June, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.

Bulger, captured in California in 2011 after 16 years on the run, is scheduled to stand trial in Boston on a sweeping federal racketeering indictment that alleges he participated in 19 murders.

A friend, Richard Sunday, received a letter from Bulger, complaining of prison conditions and mentioning that his regimen of 100 push-ups per day is over, adding, "Exercise is over for me," the newspaper said.

"I think what they're doing to him is going to eventually kill him. That's my worry," Sunday said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

However, J.W. Carney Jr., Bulger's lawyer, was not critical of his client's treatment, saying, "Sheriff (Joseph) McDonald and Superintendent (Brian) Gillen have been very professional in the pretrial detention of my client, an inmate in his 80s who presents particular issues, and they have been responsive to them."

Carney added he expects Bulger to be "mentally and physically ready to begin trial" on Jun. 6.

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