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US trio charged over Whitey Bulger’s death

Three men have been indicted in the 2018 prison beating death of James “Whitey” Bulger, who lived a double life as one of Boston’s most notorious mobsters and as a secret FBI informant before going on the run for 16 years.

The US Justice Department’s announcement on Thursday shed new light on the unsolved killing of Bulger, who was slain at age 89, five years into a life sentence for 11 murders and other offences he was convicted of in 2013.

Bulger was found fatally bludgeoned on October 30, 2018, in a federal prison in West Virginia – the US Penitentiary, Hazelton – where he had been transferred in a wheelchair a day earlier.

His accused killer, Fotios “Freddy” Geas, 55, a reputed Mafia hitman, was indicted for murder by a federal inmate serving a life sentence.

At the time of Bulger’s death, Geas was serving a life term at Hazelton for the 2003 murders of Genovese crime family boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno and associate Gary Westerman.

Geas, long suspected of involvement in Bulger’s death, is still held at Hazelton.

Along with two co-defendants, Paul J “Pauly” DeCologero, 48, and Sean McKinnon, 36, Geas was also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

DeCologero, who was the head of an organised crime crew in Massachusetts, is no longer held at Hazelton but remains a federal inmate, serving a sentence of life plus 25 years for murder, racketeering and firearms offences.

McKinnon, who was on supervised release when the indictment was returned, faces an additional charge of making false statements to a federal court. He was arrested on Thursday in Florida.

At the time of Bulger’s murder, McKinnon was serving an eight-year sentence for stealing guns. For at least part of that time he shared a cell with Geas.

Bulger, who ran the largely Irish mob in Boston in the 1970s and ’80s, served as an FBI informant who exposed his gang’s main rival in an era when bringing down the Mafia was a top priority for the FBI.

He later became one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives, fleeing Boston in 1994 after his FBI handler warned him he was about to be indicted.

After more than 16 years on the run, he was captured at age 81 in Santa Monica, California, where he had been living with his longtime girlfriend.

Reuters with AP

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