Catherine Greig was James “Whitey” Bulger’s willing accomplice during his 16 years on the run from the law. On October 30, 2018, Bulger was killed inside of the United States Penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia. Bulger was 89 years old. The infamous Boston mobster had just been moved to the facility from Florida. TMZ reports that Bulger, who was wheelchair-bound, was wheeled into an area not covered by surveillance cameras and was beaten. The site said that inmates attempted to gouge out one of Bulger’s eyes but failed. A suspect or suspects have not been identified in the murder.
Greig was taken into custody on June 22, 2011, inside of the apartment she shared with Bulger in Santa Monica, California. Agents had used a ruse to get Bulger out of the apartment in order to secure his arrest. The pair were both extradited to Massachusetts. During an initial court appearance, Greig pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud. Nearly exactly one year after her arrest, Greig was sentenced to eight years in prison for her crimes. During her trial, Greig was represented by Kevin Reddington, a lawyer out of Brockton, Massachusetts. in September 2015, Greig was further indicted on a contempt charge as she refused to testify about other people who may have helped the couple while they were on the run. Greig was sentenced to a further 21 months on that charge in February 2016. Her release date is set for 2020. Greig is serving her time in the Federal Correctional Institution in Waseca, Minnesota.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Greig’s Ex-Husband Believed His Brothers Had Been Killed by Whitey Bulger
Greig is a native of Boston, the daughter of a Scottish machinist father, and a Canadian mother. When Greig was 20, she married Boston firefighter, Robert “Bobby” McGonagle. McGonagle’s family were heavily connected to Boston’s underworld. They were members of the Mullen Gang in South Boston. McGonagle died of a drug overdose in 1987. His brothers, Donald and Paul, who were twins, were killed during a war between their Mullen gang and Bulger’s Killeen gang. One was killed in 1969, the other in 1974. Bobby McGonagle himself was also wounded in a gang battle in 1974. Greig’s other brother, David, was an associate of Bulger’s. Later, David Greig committed suicide in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
A constant figure during Greig’s legal battles since she was captured by the FBI has been her twin sister, Margaret McCusker. McCusker told the Boston Herald in January 2016 that it would be a “waste of time” if her sister was to serve any more time. McCusker said, “I miss her. Don’t forget, not just this time in jail, but for 16 years she was gone. I didn’t know where she was. In fact, at one point, I told myself, ‘I’m just going to have to say she’s dead because I can’t go on like this.’” McCusker went on to say that she corresponded with Bulger while he was in prison but did not act as a go-between for her sister and Bulger. Bulger and Greig were forbidden from having contact.
2. During the Search for Bulger, Greig Was Described as an ‘Animal Lover Who Frequented Beauty Salons’
The FBI credited their elaborate media campaign as being directly responsible for the capture of Greig and Bulger. A sighting of the couple was confirmed in London in 2002. Greig was targeted in the campaign as being an “animal lover” who was known to frequent beauty salons. When Greig met Bulger, she had been working as a dental hygienist. According to the New York Times, Greig’s dental hygienist license expired in 1987. The same Times report says that Greig was known to have had plastic surgery and breast implants.
3. Bulger Initially Went on the Run With a Different Womans
Following Bulger’s split from Lindsey Cyr around 1973, the crimelord began dating a Boston-area divorcee, Teresa Stanley. Stanley later said that Bulger behaved like a father to her children and the family all lived in an expensive home in Quincy, Massachusetts. Around this time, Bulger was also seeing Greig as a mistress. She was also living in Quincy at the time.
When Bulger received a tip just before Christmas 1994 that he was to be arrested, he absconded with Stanley to Selden, New York. They then spent New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. When Bulger was about to return to Boston, believing rumors about his arrest were untrue, Stanley made it clear that she too wanted to return to be with her children. Bulger was forced to change his plans as his right-hand man, Stephen Flemmi, was arrested. Despite this, Bulger went to New England and left Greig in a parking lot. He then went to pick up Catherine Greig, who was brought to him by his henchman, Kevin Weeks. Weeks said that he met with Bulger in a variety of different locations over the next year. Weeks said that Greig was present at most of those meetings.
Stanley had planned to release a book of memoirs however, she died in 2012 after a battle with lung cancer before she could achieve this. In 2004, Stanley told the Boston Herald, “We’ve got everybody in town trying to write a book. I’ve spent 30 years with this guy and I’ve been through hell.” It was only in 1994 that Stanley learned about Greig and Bulger’s relationship. An FBI source told the New York Times, “Throughout most or all of the time she had been Bulger’s girlfriend, Bulger had also been romantically involved with Greig. This news caused a strain in Stanley’s relationship with Bulger.”
4. While on the Run, Greig Told People that Bulger Had Senile Dementia
A New York Times feature on Greig said that while she was on the run with Bulger, she had begun to tell people that he was suffering from senile dementia. The Times feature mentioned that Greig was “subservient” to Bulger, although she herself was intelligent and hardworking. The author of Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the F.B.I. and the Irish Mob, Gerard O’Neill, told the Times, “No one really knows the dynamic of the relationship. But he is the master of the double cross, both in his personal life and his professional life.”
5. Bulger Had Just Been Moved to the Prison Where He Was Killed
The Boston Globe reported earlier in the day that Bulger had been moved to West Virginia’s USP Hazelton in Bruceton Mills. Bulger was previously being held in Sumterville, Florida until he was moved to Oklahoma briefly before being transferred to West Virginia. The Globe report quotes a source saying that Bulger’s health was severely declining and that he was suffering from a heart condition. Speaking to Newsweek, one of Bulger’s victim’s sons, “I’m surprised and pleased. I didn’t think anyone was going to get to kill him. I thought he would die an old man in jail. This is happy news for our family.”