Three men, including a Mafia hit man, have been charged in the 2018 killing of Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger in a West Virginia prison, the Justice Department said Thursday.
The charges against Fotios “Freddy” Geas, Paul J. DeCologero and Sean McKinnon come nearly four years after Bulger’s killing, which raised questions about why the known “snitch” was placed in the general population instead of more protective housing. The men were charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Bulger was beaten to death at USP Hazelton in October 2018 hours after he was transferred from a prison in Florida, where he had been serving a life sentence for 11 murders and other crimes. Prosecutors allege Messrs. Geas and DeCologero struck Bulger in the head multiple times and caused his death.
The Justice Department has also charged Mr. Geas, 55 years old, and Mr. DeCologero, 48, with aiding and abetting first-degree murder, along with assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Mr. Geas faces a separate charge for murder by a federal inmate serving a life sentence, and Mr. McKinnon, 36, is charged separately with making false statements to a federal agent.
Messrs. Geas and DeCologero were identified as suspects shortly after Bulger’s death, according to law-enforcement officials at the time, but they remained uncharged as the investigation dragged on for years.
They were placed in solitary confinement throughout the probe, family members told the Boston Globe. Mr. McKinnon’s mother told the newspaper that her son, who was Mr. Geas’s roommate at the time of Bulger’s killing, told her he didn’t know anything about the slaying.
Emails seeking comment were sent Thursday to lawyers for Mr. Geas and for Mr. Bulger’s family. It wasn’t immediately known if Messrs. McKinnon and DeCologero had attorneys to comment on their behalf.
Mr. Geas remains in prison in Hazelton, and Mr. DeCologero is being held in another federal prison facility. Mr. McKinnon, who prosecutors say was on federal supervised release when the indictment was handed down, was arrested Thursday in Florida.
Bulger’s family sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons and 30 unnamed employees of the prison system over his death, alleging that it appeared that the gangster was “deliberately sent to his death” at the penitentiary.
Bulger was the third inmate killed in six months at USP Hazelton, where workers and advocates had long been warning about dangerous conditions. A federal judge dismissed the family’s lawsuit in January.
Bulger, who ran the largely Irish mob in Boston in the 1970s and ’80s, served as an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant who ratted on his gang’s main rival in an era when bringing down the Mafia was a national priority for the FBI. He later became one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives.
Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after his FBI handler, John Connolly Jr., warned him he was about to be indicted. With a $2 million reward on his head, Bulger became one of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” criminals.
After more than 16 years on the run, he was captured at age 81 in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had been living in a rent-controlled apartment near the beach with his longtime girlfriend.
Story cited here.
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