Federal prosecutors say three suspects in the murder of Whitey Bulger – The Washington Post

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Three men have been charged with the murder of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster who was beaten to death in 2018 while serving a life sentence in a West Virginia prison, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Photius Jess, 55, Paul J.D. Cologero, 48, and Sean McKinnon, 36, are charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, among several other crimes. The charges come nearly four years after Bulger was found unresponsive and badly beaten at Hazelton American Prison in Brutson Mills, Washington. He was 89 years old.

Bolger bloody era As Boston’s most brutal gangster, he spanned three turbulent decades. He was an FBI informant, recruited to report on his mafia rivals, and later on the bureau’s most wanted list after escaping before an imminent indictment before a grand jury. During his time on the run, Bulger sparked an investigation in Congress and Probably Hollywood villains. He spent more than 16 years on the run before he was arrested in California.

Bulger received consecutive life terms for his roles in 11 murders and 31 racketeering counts, and was initially imprisoned in Florida. He was transferred to Hazleton in October 2018 and was killed less than 24 hours after arriving, ask questions On why he was moved and whether enough was done to ensure his safety after being placed among the general population in one of the most violent prisons in the country.

Geas and DeCologero are accused of repeatedly hitting Bulger in the head – the blows that caused his death – and face additional charges of aiding and abetting first-degree murder and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Geas was separately charged with murder by a federal inmate serving a life sentence, and McKinnon was charged with making false statements to a federal agent.

Prosecutors said both Geas and DeCologero remain in federal prison, while McKinnon was on supervised release when he was indicted. He was arrested in Florida on Thursday.

Bulger was using a wheelchair at the time of his death, and prison surveillance footage captured two men guiding him out of sight, authorities said at the time. He was reportedly beaten off camera with a padlock stuffed inside a sock. In media reports following the killing, law enforcement officials described a brutal attack: Bulger was “unrecognizable,” One; His eyes were about to go out, According to others.

It was one of several violent deaths of prisoners at the facility that year, and the high-profile killing drew further scrutiny of Hazelton. Complaint history About insufficient staff and lack of control. As a longtime FBI collaborator, Bulger had a target on his back and his family Believes He was “deliberately put in harm’s way”.

that they Foot A wrongful death lawsuit against the Department of Justice in 2020, asserting that Bulger was “probably the most notorious and notorious prisoner” since Al Capone and accusing officials of not providing him adequate protection. federal judge eviction The lawsuit was filed earlier this year.

Geas’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday’s accusations, and it was not immediately clear whether DeCologero and McKinnon had legal representation.

According to court records review By The Washington Post in 2018, Geas, who was gone by Freddy, was serving a life sentence after being convicted of two murders and was a Massachusetts partner of the Genovese crime family in New York. After Geas was named a suspect in Bulger’s death, he was a private investigator who worked with him He told the Boston Globe: “Freddy hates mice.”

Paul Duggan, Peter Hermann and Amy Britten contributed to this report.

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