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Three Men Accused of Murder Years After Organized Crime Boss Whitey Bulger Died Behind Bars in West Virginia

James "Whitey" Bulger Mugshot

James “Whitey” Bulger appears in a U.S. Marshals Service mugshot taken in 2011.

Notorious Boston organized crime boss and FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger Jr. died in a prison attack in October 2018. His alleged killers have now been indicted for murder.

Fotios Geas, also known as “Freddy,” 55, Paul J. DeCologero, also known as “Pauly,” 48, and Sean McKinnon, 36, were charged on Wednesday with conspiracy to commit first degree murder, the U.S. Department of justice announced Thursday.

The press release bore the following title: “Three indicted in prison homicide.”

The title belied the high-profile nature of the charges.

“Geas and DeCologero are accused of striking Bulger in the head multiple times and causing his death in October of 2018 while all were incarcerated at United States Penitentiary Hazleton in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia,” the feds wrote. “In addition to the conspiracy charge, Geas and DeCologero have been charged with aiding and abetting first degree murder, along with assault resulting in serious bodily injury.”

Geas faces a separate charge for murder by a federal inmate serving a life sentence, and McKinnon faces a separate charge of making false statements to a federal agent, prosecutors noted.

Previous federal court cases indicate that Geas was in prison for crimes connected to the Genovese Organized Crime Family. Geas was indicted in 2010 along with a bevy of other defendants, several appellate cases indicate.

One of those cases explained that Geas was charged with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, the murder of Adolfo Bruno in aid of racketeering, the murder of Adolfo Bruno to obstruct justice, extortion conspiracy, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. Geas was also charged with another count of murder in aid of racketeering in connection with the killing of Gary Westerman.

He was convicted on all but one count:  the murder of Adolfo Bruno for the purpose of obstructing justice.

“Geas was sentenced principally to four counts of life imprisonment and 240 months on two counts, also to run concurrently,” that 2016 case indicates. “He was also ordered to forfeit $120,000, and a $500 special assessment was imposed.”

That appeal, which appears to be Geas’ last, was not successful.

Paul J. DeCologero was in prison due to his connections to what a federal appeals court in 2015 referred to as a “Boston-based criminal organization known as the ‘DeCologero crew.'”

He and two other defendants bearing the same last name were convicted of racketeering and several related crimes. Paul J. was the nephew of the purported leader of the group; he was convicted of witness tampering conspiracy, witness tampering by misleading conduct, and witness tampering by attempting to kill. The appellate opinion says Paul J. attempted to procure heroin that would cause a victim to overdose and die.

Geas remains at the same prison where Bulger was killed, according to the DOJ. DeCologero is a federal inmate at the Lee federal prison in Pennington Gap, Virginia, according to a federal inmate database.

McKinnon was out of prison on supervised release; the DOJ said he was arrested in Florida on Thursday.

The case docket is not yet public on a federal court database.

Boston NPR radio station WBUR described Bulger this way in a January report:

Bulger was the leader of the Winter Hill Gang, an Irish-American organized crime operation that ran loan-sharking, gambling and drug rackets in South Boston. He was also an FBI informant who snitched on the New England mob, his gang’s main rival, in an era when bringing down the Mafia was a top national priority for the FBI.

He became one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives after fleeing Boston in late 1994. After more than 16 years on the run, Bulger was captured at age 81 in Santa Monica, California. He was later convicted in 2013 of participating in 11 murders and other crimes.

This is a developing story . . .

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.