BOSTON (Reuters) - Long-time Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger told a group of Massachusetts high school students who had written to ask him questions for a research project that his "life was wasted and spent foolishly," the Boston Globe reported.
Bulger, 85, was convicted in 2013 of committing or ordering the murders of 11 people when he ruled Boston's criminal underworld in the 1970s and 1980s and is serving two consecutive life sentences in federal prison.
Four students from Apponequet Regional High School in Lakeville, Massachusetts, had written to ask him questions for a research paper on leadership and got a terse, apologetic four-paragraph reply letter, the newspaper reported on Sunday.
"My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame and suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon," wrote Bulger, the former leader of Boston's "Winter Hill" gang, according to a transcript of the letter posted by the newspaper. "If you want to make crime pay — 'Go to Law School.'"
Bulger terrorized Boston for decades, shooting and strangling real and perceived enemies, before fleeing in 1994 after a tip from a corrupt FBI agent that authorities were preparing to arrest him. He spent 16 years on the run, many atop the bureau's "Most Wanted" list, before being captured in Southern California in 2011.
His story inspired Martin Scorsese's 2006 Academy Award-winning film "The Departed."
Next month, lawyers for Bulger are due to make their case appealing his conviction at a federal appeals court in Boston. They contend the judge deprived them of making their best case during Bulger's trial. They had wanted to argue that Bulger had been given immunity for any crimes by a corrupt Justice Department official.
Bulger's trial exposed his long and corrupt relationship with the Boston office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where agents turned a blind eye to the Irish-American mobster's crimes in exchange for information they could use against the Italian-American Mafia, then a top investigative target.
During his trial, Bulger's attorneys argued that he had never provided tips to law enforcement but rather paid them for information.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)