US Marshals Service via AP, file
BOSTON — Three men, including a mob hitman, have been charged with the murder of notorious Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger in a West Virginia jail, the Justice Department announced 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 known “golden snitch” was placed in the general population instead of more protective housing. The men have been charged with conspiracy to commit first degree murder.
Bulger was beaten to death at USP Hazelton in October 2018, hours after being transferred from a Florida prison, where he was serving a life sentence for 11 murders and other crimes.
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 remained uncharged as the investigation dragged on for years. They have been placed in solitary confinement throughout the investigation, family members told The Boston Globe.
Bulger’s family previously filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and 30 unnamed prison system employees, alleging they failed to protect him. Bulger was the third inmate killed in six months at USP Hazelton, where workers and advocates have long warned of unsafe conditions.
Bulger, who led Boston’s predominantly Irish Mafia in the 1970s and 1980s, served as an FBI informant who exposed his gang’s chief rival at a time when bringing down the Mafia was a top national priority for the FBI. He then became one of the country’s most wanted fugitives.