Notorious Boston hit man James "Whitey" Bulger has adopted an unlikely cause: exonerating a man in prison for murder, the Boston Globe reports. Fred Weichel, a South Boston man behind bars for 32 years, has long claimed he never committed murder in 1980. He even got a new trial in 2004 on the basis of a 1982 letter apparently by an old pal, Thomas Barrett, confessing to the crime. But the trial was tossed out because Weichel had held back the letter too long. Ironically, Weichel claimed he did so because Bulger had warned him not to reveal Barrett's guilt.
Now Bulger, 84, serving two life sentences for multiple murders, has written a Weichel supporter that the real killer should "be brave enough to come forth." Bulger doesn't name names, but says that years ago, a Weichel "pal" sought Bulger's advice after badly beating a man and receiving threats from the man's friend, Robert LaMonica. Bulger advised him to kill LaMonica and "never repeat this conversation to anyone." Well, LaMonica got killed, and a teenager's eyewitness testimony pinned the killing on Weichel. Now Weichel's attorney believes that "pal" to be Thomas Barrett. "Bulger is encouraging Barrett to come forward because Weichel is innocent," the attorney told the Boston Herald.