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Mafia Hitman, Two Other Men Indicted In Boston Mob Boss James 'Whitey' Bulger’s 2018 Prison Killing

Fotios “Freddy” Geas, Paul J. DeCologero, and Sean McKinnon all face charges in connection to the 2018 killing of James "Whitey" Bulger, who was beaten to death in his cell at UPS Hazleton hours after he was transferred from a Florida prison.

By Dorian Geiger
James Whitey Bulger G

Three men, including a former mafia hitman, have been indicted in the murder of notorious Boston gangster, James “Whitey” Bulger, who was beaten to death in his prison cell nearly four years ago.

Fotios “Freddy” Geas, 55, Paul J. DeCologero, 48, and Sean McKinnon, 36, were indicted on Wednesday in Bulger’s fatal beating at a West Virginia prison in 2018, according to the Justice Department. They were charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with Bulger’s death.

Geas has also been separately charged with murder by a federal inmate serving a life sentence. McKinnon is facing a single separate charge of making false statements to a federal agent as well.

On Oct. 30, 2018, Bulger was found beaten to death in his cell at UPS Hazleton in West Virginia’s Preston County hours after being transferred from a Florida prison. He was repeatedly hit in the head with a padlock stuffed inside a sock, according to NBC News. He was 89.

A motive hasn’t been released in Bulger’s killing.

“With the indictment announced today, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia has started the process of holding the men alleged to have violently ended a life accountable,” U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins said in a statement. “In the truest of ironies, Bulger’s family has experienced the excruciating pain and trauma their relative inflicted on far too many, and the justice system is now coming to their aid.” 

Geas,  DeCologero, and McKinnon had all been forced into solitary confinement during the investigation into Bulger’s death, according to the Boston Globe.

Geas remains incarcerated at UPS Hazleton. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2003 for the slaying of Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno a Genovese crime family boss in Springfield, Massachusetts, according to the Associated Press.

DeCologero was part of a North Shore Massachusetts’ gang called the “DeCologero Crew,” per the Associated Press.

McKinnon, who was recently out on parole at the time the indictment was handed down, was arrested Thursday in Florida. DeCologero is serving a life sentence at USP Lee in Virginia, according to federal prison records.

Daniel Kelly, Geas’ defense attorney wasn’t immediately available for comment on Friday afternoon when contacted by Oxygen.com. It’s unclear if McKinnon and DeCologero have retained defense counsel.

Bulger ran South Boston’s Irish mob in the 1970s and 1980s. He later became an FBI informant, gaining racket-wide police protection in exchange for providing intelligence on his rivals in the Italian mafia. In 1994, Bulger fled Boston after his FBI handler John Connolly Jr. tipped off the Boston gangster that he was soon to be indicted. Bulger evaded authorities for 16 years, until his capture in June 2011. 

In 2013, Bulger pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges and 11 murders. He was later convicted on all charges and sentenced to life in prison. Officials suspect the Boston gangster was involved in at least eight other known homicides during his reign of South Boston. Bulger, who called the trial a "sham," didn't testify during proceedings.

Prior to his killing, he’d been transferred from Florida to UPS Hazelton over disciplinary issues, the Associated Press reported.

Bulger’s family, who accused corrections officials of failing to protect him, previously filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and 30 unidentified prison workers in connection with his death. The 89-year-old was the third inmate murdered within the span of six months at USP Hazelton.

McKinnon, who spent years in solitary confinement in the wake of Bulger’s murder, previously maintained his innocence during a 2021 interview.

“I told the feds if I had something to tell them, I would,” McKinnon told NBC News during a telephone interview. “I know nothing. I’m an innocent man.”

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