The beating death of Boston criminal lord James “Whitey” Bulger in a West Virginia federal prison nearly four years ago highlighted rampant violence and astonishing security failings across the prison system, and three men, including a Mafia enforcer, were indicted in the case.
Federal authorities announced Thursday that 55-year-old Fotios “Freddy” Geas, 48-year-old Paul “Pauly” DeCologero, and 36-year-old Sean McKinnon had been charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
In October of 2018, when inmates at U.S. Penitentiary Hazleton, Geas and DeCologero were accused of attacking Bulger by repeatedly punching him in the head. In addition to the charges of assault leading to serious bodily injury and first-degree murder, Geas and DeCologero were also charged with aiding and abetting the commission of a homicide.
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In addition to the charges of giving false statements to federal agents, both Geas and McKinnon are facing separate charges of murder by a federal offender serving a life sentence.
In 2011, both Geas and his brother were given life sentences for their involvement in multiple murders, including the 2003 slaying of Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno, the boss of the Genovese crime family in Springfield, Massachusetts. Prosecutors claim that another mobster ordered Bruno’s murder because he was angry that Bruno had spoken with the FBI.
After being advised by his FBI handler, John Connolly Jr., that indictment was imminent, Bulger left Boston in late 1994.
In Santa Monica, California, where he was living in a rent-controlled apartment near the ocean with his long-time lover, Catherine Greig, he was finally apprehended at the age of 81 after more than 16 years on the run with a $2 million US bounty on his head.
A federal law enforcement officer, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, stated that disciplinary difficulties were the reason for his transfer to Hazelton. Bulger allegedly told a Florida jail assistant supervisor, “your day of reckoning is coming,” in February of 2018.
Sending Bulger to the problematic federal penitentiary that housed other New England gangsters was like giving him a “death sentence,” a prison workers’ union official told the AP that year.
However, Bulger denied ever being an FBI informant. Public documents from the family’s lawsuit action revealed that upon his arrival at Hazelton, he was interviewed to determine whether or not he should be isolated from the general population. Bulger answered “no” to the question “have you assisted law enforcement agents in any way?” on an admissions screening form.