Three men, including a mob hitman, have been charged with the murder of notorious Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger at 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 murder, raising questions about why the notorious “snitch” was placed in general population rather than housing. more protected. 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 was serving a life sentence for 11 murders and other crimes. Prosecutors allege that Geas and DeCologero struck Bulger in the head multiple times, causing his death.
The Justice Department also charged Geas and DeCologero with aiding and abetting first-degree murder, as well as assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Geas faces a separate charge of murder by a federal inmate serving a life sentence, and McKinnon is separately charged with making false statements to a federal agent.
Geas and DeCologero were identified as suspects shortly after Bulger’s death, according to law enforcement officials at the time, but were not charged as the investigation dragged on for years. They were placed in solitary confinement during the investigation, family members told The Boston Globe.
Gaes remains as a prison in Hazelton and DeCologero is being held in another federal prison. McKinnon, who prosecutors say was on federal supervised release when the indictment was filed, was arrested Thursday in Florida.
Bulger’s family had previously filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and 30 unnamed prison system employees, claiming they failed to protect him. Bulger was the third inmate killed in six months at USP Hazelton, where workers and advocates had long been warning of dangerous conditions.
Bulger, who ran the majority-Irish mob in Boston in the 1970s and ’80s, served as an FBI informant who ratted out his gang’s main rival in an era when taking down the mob was a national priority for the FBI. He later became one of the most wanted fugitives in the country.
A prison workers union official told The Associated Press in 2018 that sending Bulger to the troubled federal penitentiary that housed other New England mobsters was like giving him a “death sentence.”
A federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press after Bulger’s death that disciplinary issues led to Bulger’s transfer to USP Hazelton. The official insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to reveal details. In February 2018, Bulger threatened an assistant supervisor at the Florida prison, telling her “your trial day is coming up.”
Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after being warned by his FBI contact, John Connolly Jr., that he was about to be indicted. With a $2 million bounty on his head, Bulger became one of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” criminals.
After more than 16 years on the run, Bulger was captured at the age of 81 in Santa Monica, California, where he lived in a rent-controlled apartment near the beach with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig.
DeCologero was part of an organized crime gang run by his uncle on the north shore of Massachusetts called the “DeCologero Crew”.
He was found guilty of purchasing heroin which was used to attempt to kill a teenage girl her uncle wanted dead because he feared she would “betray the crew to the police”. The heroine didn’t kill her, so another man broke her neck, dismembered her and buried her remains in the woods, court records say.
Geas was a close associate of the mob and acted as an enforcer, but he was not an official “made” member because he is Greek, not Italian.
Geas and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for their role in several violent crimes, including the 2003 murder of Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno, head of a Genovese crime family in Springfield, Massachusetts. Another mobster ordered Bruno’s murder because he was upset that he had spoken to the FBI, prosecutors said.