Three men, including a Mafia hitman, have been charged over the killing of the infamous crime boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, who was beaten to death in a West Virginia prison nearly four years ago.
Once one of America’s most wanted fugitives, Bulger was jailed in 2013 for being complicit in 11 murders, after leading the Winter Hill Gang that ran loan-sharking, gambling and drug rackets in the Boston area.
However, he also lived a double life as an FBI informant who exposed his rivals during a period of time when bringing down the Mafia was a federal priority.
He was killed just hours after being transferred to Hazelton prison from a federal penitentiary in Florida.
Fotios Geas, 55, Paul J DeCologero, 48, and Sean McKinnon, 36, have all been charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
DeColgero and Geas have also been charged with aiding and abetting first-degree murder and assault resulting in serious bodily injury, after it was alleged they caused Bulger’s death by repeatedly striking him on the head.
Both were identified as suspects in the killing in October 2018, but were never formally charged during the investigation.
Geas, a known Mafia operative who – like Bulger – was serving a life sentence for a spate of violent crimes, also faces a charge of murder, while McKinnon has been charged with making false statements to a federal agent.
Geas remains imprisoned at Hazelton in West Virginia, while DeCologero is being held elsewhere in the US. McKinnon was arrested in Florida on Thursday, having been out on supervised release.
DeColgero was imprisoned for attempting to kill a teenage girl his uncle feared would “betray” his crew to the police, while Geas was sentenced to life for his role in a number of violent crimes – including the killing of a Genovese crime family boss in 2003.
Bulger’s handler, John Connolly Jr, would look the other way with regard to his mob’s crimes, and often provided information about other gangsters in return.
The gangster became one of the FBI’s “Top Ten Most Wanted Men” after he fled Boston in 1994.
Bulger spent 16 years as a fugitive before he was caught in Santa Monica, California, in 2011.
He was feared for his short temper and brutality.
Prosecutors during his trial said he strangled two women with his hands and tortured a man for hours before shooting him in the head with a machine gun.
Bulger was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years for the 11 murders, plus other charges including racketeering.
He was called “Whitey” because of his light blond hair, but was said to detest the nickname and preferred being called Jimmy.