Three men, including a Mafia hitman, have been charged in the killing of notorious 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.
Geas faces a separate charge for murder by a federal inmate serving a life sentence, and McKinnon is charged separately 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 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.
Bulger’s family had previously filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and 30 unnamed employees of the prison system, alleging 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 about dangerous conditions.
Bulger, who ran the largely Irish mob in Boston in the 1970s and ’80s, served as an FBI informant who ratted on his gang’s main rival in an era when bringing down the Mafia was a top national priority for the FBI. He later became one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives.