The police probe into the slaying of James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger Jr. has widened to include two more inmates at the West Virginia penitentiary where the notorious gangster ultimately met a grisly end last month.
Felix Wilson, 26, and Sean McKinnon, 32, have become potential suspects in the death of Bulger, who was killed on Oct. 30, mere hours after his arrival at the federal prison, according to Boston.com.
Wilson, who suffers from mental illness and has no known connection to organized crime, had shared a cell with Bulger at the United States Penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia, hours before the infamous criminal's death.
Set to be released from prison in 2019, Wilson had been serving a 30-month sentence after he was stopped for riding a bicycle on the wrong side of the road and police found a gun, according to the New York Times.
McKinnon, meanwhile, shared a cell with Fotios “Freddy’’ Geas, a Mafia hitman who is also a suspect in the killing of Bulger. McKinnon was convicted of stealing firearms and is serving an eight-year sentence; he has not been linked to a specific crime family,
Geas, who’s doing life for two murders, and Paul J. DeCologero, a member of a North Shore organized crime group, were the original suspects in the case, according to Boston.com.
The group DeCologero is associated with has been linked to the dismembering of a teenage girl who the gang believed might plot against them, the outlet reports.
The violent beating that led to Bulger's death occurred shortly after he was transferred to the U.S. penitentiary in West Virginia. He was 89.
Two people could be seen on security cameras rolling Bulger into the corner of his cell. Bulger had been beaten with a padlock wrapped in a sock and posed in blankets as if he was sleeping.
Geas, DeCologero, McKinnon and Wilson were all placed in solitary confinement after Bulger's body was discovered, the Times reports. It remains unclear to what extent the four were implicated in the death at the time or if they were moved to solitary as a precaution.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons did not discuss the specifics of the investigation in a statement and referred only to two assailants.
“The alleged assailants were not known to be threats nor had any known geographical ties to Bulger,” the bureau said.
Bulger had been serving two life sentences for 11 murders, according to the New York Times.
Before his capture, Bulger had been listed as second on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for 12 years, behind Osama bin Laden.
His ability to corrupt police with bribes allowed him to escape prosecution for a plethora of crimes including extortion, bookmaking, loan-sharking, gambling, truck hijacking and drug dealing for decades. The ignominious mobster had garnered a legendary status in New England, with myths of his cruelty and Robin Hood-like character populating the area's zeitgeist.
The tales told about his villainy served as the inspiration for Oscar-winning 2006 Martin Scorsese film “The Departed."
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
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