(NECN: Greg Wayland) - We're learning new information on the health of Whitey Bulger. The former mob boss was hospitalized last week for an irregular heartbeat. He's due to go on trial in connection with 19 murders in June.
Eighty-one-year-old Richard Sunday says he's gotten some 16 letters from his friend and former prison-mate James "Whitey" Bulger.
Talking by phone from his home outside Pittsburgh, he said Bulger's letters are often hard to read because so full of abbreviations, so secretive.
“That's Jimmy's nature. Sometimes it’s really hard to read his letters because he leaves words out or he starts scribbling.”
But he says Bulger's last letter left a clear sense his health was declining.
“I’m worried about that. I've been trying, I figured I knew Jimmy pretty darn good. But, of course, I've been deceptive on that, too, because I would have never thought that he would be the gangster that he was,” says Sunday. “At our age, to be kept in the type of confinement that he is in, ah, that must be hell.”
Though Sunday says he knows there's little sympathy for Bulger, especially from the families of his alleged victims.
He says when he knew Bulger while they were imprisoned at Alcatraz, the future mob boss was trying to go straight.
“And he had told me, now, he said, ‘I can't do anything bad anymore. I've gotta get out of here and go straight’. And he says, ‘I gotta find me some kind of a job, you know.’ And I was pleased as hell to hear that.”
Sunday says Bulger is mad at him now for talking to people writing books about him. Sunday got out of prison decades ago and says he’s never reoffended.