A mafia hitman and carer criminal is suspected of leading the fatal attack on notorious Boston mob boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger because he hated informants.
Fotios ‘Freddy’ Geas, 51, is under investigation for allegedly instigating a group of men to beat wheelchair-bound Bulger to death with a lock wrapped in a sock and partially gouge his eyes while in maximum security prison Tuesday.
‘Freddy hated rats,’ private investigator Ted McDonough said of Geas, who is serving a life sentence after ratted on for the murders of former Genovese crime family mob boss Adolfo ‘Big Al’ Bruno and associate Gary D Westerman in 2003.
Bulger had cut a sweet deal to serve as an FBI informant as far back as 1975, giving him virtual impunity to commit any crime he wanted for decades – except for murder.
The former head of south Boston’s Winter Hill Gang was convicted in 2013 of killing at least 11 people and was serving two life sentences at the time of his death.
‘Freddy hated guys who abused women. Whitey was a rat who killed women. It’s probably that simple,’ McDonough, who became friendly with Geas while working for him as an investigator, revealed to The Boston Globe.
Fotios ‘Freddy’ Geas, 51, ( left, pictured in 2007) is suspected of leading the killing of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger (right) Tuesday in a federal prison in West Virginia
James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, right, is seen after a hearing in 2011 as he is escorted from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to a waiting vehicle at an airport in Plymouth, Massachusetts
Bulger was found dead by guards on Tuesday morning at USP Hazelton, a high-security federal prison in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. He was 89.
He had just been moved to Hazelton Monday from a prison in Florida after a stint in a transfer facility in Oklahoma City.
A private investigator said ‘Freddy hated rats’ and suspects Geas, pictured in a 2010 mugshot, would have killed Bulger because of his role as an informant
Bureau of Prisons officials and his attorney declined last week to comment on why he was being moved.
Bulger was in general population when three inmates rolled his wheelchair to a corner out of view of surveillance cameras, beat him in the head with a lock wrapped in a sock, and attempted to gouge his eyes out with a shiv, according to reports.
Law enforcement sources tell DailyMail.com that Whitey had been talking about outing people in the top echelon of the controversial FBI informant program.
The sources said he hadn’t even been processed at the West Virginia facility when he was killed.
But someone who knew he was being transferred put the word out – the killer or killers had to know he was coming.
The lawyer who represented Geas in the Mafia killings was not surprised to hear his former client did not dispute his position in Bulger’s killing – and especially that he refused to identify any accomplices, the Globe reports.
‘He wouldn’t rat on anybody,’ said attorney David Hoose. ‘And he had no respect for anyone who did.’
Though the prison has not confirmed who was involved in the murder, notably, mobster Paul Weadick, 63, was sent to Hazelton this summer after his murder conviction alongside Francis ‘Cadillac Frank’ Salemme – Bulger’s codefendant in a sweeping federal racketeering indictment in 1999.
Salamme and Weadick were convicted in June of the 1993 murder of Steven DiSarro, a nightclub owner in South Boston.
Bulger’s right-hand man, Stephen ‘The Rifleman’ Flemmi, was the star witness in the prosecution of Salamme and Weadick – though Flemmi also testified against Bulger himself in 2013.
Salamme, 85, is currently incarcerated in Brooklyn MDC.
Freddy is serving a life sentence for the murders of former Genovese crime family mob boss Adolfo ‘Big Al’ Bruno(left) and associate Gary D Westerman (right) in 2003
These 1980s FBI handout file photos show Massachusetts mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger
Boston mobster Paul Weadick, 63, (left) was sent to Hazelton this summer after his murder conviction alongside Francis ‘Cadillac Frank’ Salemme (right). Bulger’s former right-hand man Stephen ‘The Rifleman’ Flemmi was a star witness against both men
Bulger lieutenant Stephen ‘The Rifleman’ Flemmi is seen testifying in 1998 to how FBI agents recruited him as an informant and protected him from being indicted for 25 years
It may not be a coincidence that US Rep. Stephen Lynch is from Southie, Bulger’s old turf.
The Massachusetts Democrat last year introduced the Confidential Informant Accountability Act – which calls for congressional oversight into the selection and use of confidential informants. It’s possible that Bulger was set to open up to someone on Lynch’s team with claims of abuses in the program.
Bulger was one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives for 16 years until his 2011 arrest in Santa Monica, California.
GENOVESE CLAN KNOWN AS ROLLS ROYCE OF ORGANISED CRIME
The Genovese crime family has been nicknamed the Ivy League and the Rolls Royce of organised crime.
They are one of the ‘Five Families’ that dominate organized crime activities in New York City and New Jersey as part of the Mafia.
They found new ways to make money in the past few years by using the housing spike to conduct a number of mortgage frauds.
The group was founded by Lucky Luciano in the 1930s but in 1957 it was renamed after Vito Genovese – he was extradited from Italy to New York and acquitted of the 1936 murder that drove him into exile.
The family was run for years by the ‘Oddfather’ Vincent ‘the Chin’ Gigante who pretended he was insane and walked disheveled around Greenwich Village wearing a bathrobe and talking to himself.
When Gigante died in 2005, power went to Daniel ‘Danny The Lion’ Leo.
The FBI convinced Genovese mobsters Anthony Arillotta and Felix Tranghese to become government witnesses.
His 2013 trial, which featured 72 witnesses and 840 exhibits, produced chilling testimony worthy of a pulp novel.
It heard harrowing tales of teeth being pulled from the mouths of murder victims to foil identification and the strangulation of a mobster’s girlfriend who ‘knew too much.’
The Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement Tuesday: ‘Life-saving measures were initiated immediately by responding staff. Mr. Bulger was subsequently pronounced dead by the Preston County Medical Examiner.’
The BOP said that no other staff or inmates were injured and that an investigation was underway.
In a statement, Bulger’s lawyer J.W. Carney Jr blasted the prison system over the mobster’s death.
‘He was sentenced to life in prison, but as a result of decisions by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, that sentence has been changed to the death penalty,’ the statement read.
In the past seven months, there have been three homicides at Hazelton – dubbed Misery Mountain – with the officers’ union blaming chronic under-staffing.
‘This facility is severely understaffed,’ the union president told the Globe.
The entrance to USP Hazelton in West Virginia is seen in a file photo. Bulger had been transferred to the facility Monday when he was killed
These 1953 Boston police booking photos shows James ‘Whitey’ Bulger after an arrest
A police evidence photo shows a car riddled with bullet holes in connection with one of the 19 murders Bulger was charged with. He was convicted of 11 murders
Bulger poses for a mugshot on his arrival at the Federal Penitentiary at Alcatraz on November 16, 1959 in San Francisco, California. Reports have emerged the gangster was slain in prison
INSIDE ‘MISERY MOUNTAIN’: Whitey was the THIRD inmate murdered just this year at the troubled West Virginia prison
Whitey Bulger is the third inmate to be killed in USP Hazelton just this year.
In April a 48-year-old inmate named Ian Thorne was killed after he got into a fight with another prisoner. Both used homemade weapons during the altercation.
Five months after Thorne was killed, another inmate was murdered.
Demario Porter, 27, was killed in September during a fight with another prisoner. He had only arrived at Hazelton days beforehand.
USP Hazelton is seen in an aerial shot. Bulger was found dead there on Tuesday
Richard Heldreth, president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 420, blamed the deaths on understaffing at the prison.
He called it part of a ‘very disturbing trend with increases in drugs and weapons being found at the complex’.
Since January 2018, there have been more than 60 documented violent incidents at the prison, which has also been locked down nine times this year ‘due to violence’, Heldreth told the Preston County News & Journal.
An interior is seen of FCI Hazelton, the minimum security camp attached to USP Hazelton. Bulger was found bludgeoned to death in the higher security facility on Tuesday
‘It has become an every day occurrence,’ he added. ‘For example, there have been at least 11 weapons confiscated at the facility in the last two days that I have seen documentation of.’
Heldreth argued that the prison had become far less safe since the Trump administration announced a federal hiring freeze in January 2017 and the Bureau of Prisons was asked to eliminate 6,000 unfilled jobs – including 127 at Hazelton.
Bulger was born in Boston on September 3, 1929, the son of a longshoreman and his first-generation Irish immigrant wife.
The young crook was arrested as young as age 14, in 1943, when he began running with a street gang called the Shamrocks and was charged with larceny.
Bulger (above) ruled the South Boston underworld for 30 years with an iron fist
Police gave young Bulger the nickname ‘Whitey’ early in his criminal career, a reference to his blond hair. Bulger is said to have hated the monicker, but it stuck.
Following a stint in the Air Force, Bulger served his first federal prison sentence starting in 1956 on armed robbery and truck hijacking charges.
Bulger went on to rule the Boston underworld with an iron fist for nearly 30 years while also working as an informant for the FBI.
His deal with the FBI gave him virtual impunity to commit crimes – FBI agents later testified that Bulger had been allowed to commit any crime except for murder in exchange for information.
By 1995, his FBI coverage wasn’t enough to protect him from a sweeping federal indictment on obstruction of justice, racketeering, drug dealing and extortion charges.
After his FBI handler John Connolly tipped him off that the indictment was about to drop, Bulger went on the run with his girlfriend Catherine Grieg.
The pair ended up in Santa Monica, California, where they posed as married retirees from Chicago.
After al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan in 2011, Bulger succeeded him as No. 1 wanted fugitive on the FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted’ list.
One of the many aliases Bulger used while on the run was that of James Lawlor, a man who Bulger found living on the street in the Los Angeles area.
The two men resembled each other so much that Bulger could use Lawlor’s driver’s license and other identity papers. In return, he paid Lawlor’s rent, according to the Boston Globe.
Miss Iceland of 1974 was responsible for Bulger’s capture. Anna Bjornsdottir, who had acted in US television shows and commercials under the name Anna Bjorn, had lived near Bulger and girlfriend Catherine Greig in Santa Monica, California.
While she was visiting Iceland, she saw a news report about the authorities’ hunt for Bulger. She recognized him as the quiet retiree she knew from Santa Monica and called the FBI, which arrested him in June 2011. Bjornsdottir later claimed a $2 million reward.
When police raided his Santa Monica apartment, they found several fiction and non-fiction books about criminals, including ‘Escape From Alcatraz.’
Bulger refused to testify at his trial claiming he had been given immunity from prosecution by federal agents.
He steadfastly denied being an FBI informant, but close links between some FBI agents in Boston and Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and 1980s have been well documented.
Catherine Greig and Whitey Bulger are seen in June 1998. They were on the run for 16 years, and posed as a retired couple from Chicago in Santa Monica
Whitey Bulger: Life and crimes of a mob kingpin
Sept. 3, 1929: James Bulger is born to Irish immigrant parents living in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. He is the second of six children. His shock of platinum blonde hair earns him the nickname ‘Whitey.’
1956: Whitey Bulger is sentenced to federal prison for bank robbery. After he’s suspected of plotting an escape from one prison, he’s transferred to Alcatraz.
1960: Bulger’s younger brother, William, is elected to the state House of Representatives. John Connolly, a childhood friend from South Boston, works on the campaign.
1965: Bulger is released from prison returns to Boston. He becomes a top underling to local mobster Howie Winter, boss of the Winter Hill Gang.
1970: William Bulger is elected to the state Senate.
1975: Bulger cuts a deal with Connolly – now a Boston-based FBI agent – to provide information on the Italian Mafia in exchange for protection.
1978: William Bulger becomes president of the state Senate.
1981: Roger Wheeler, owner of World Jai Alai, a gambling enterprise from which Bulger was skimming money, is shot between the eyes in the parking lot of his country club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
1982: Bulger and Stephen ‘The Rifleman’ Flemmi gun down a former henchman in broad daylight on a South Boston street to silence him over the Wheeler murder. Connolly files a report with the FBI saying rival gangsters made the hit.
July 1982: Flemmi and Bulger order a hit on John Callahan, the former president of World Jai Alai.
January 1995: Bulger disappears on the eve of his indictment on racketeering charges.
1997: The FBI, under court order, admits that Bulger was a ‘top echelon’ informant launching a federal probe into the agency’s corrupt ties to its mob informants.
June 22, 2011: Bulger is arrested in Santa Monica, CA, with girlfriend Catherine Grieg.
Aug 12, 2013: Bulger is found guilty of a raft of racketeering charges, including his role in 11 murders.
Nov 13 2013: Bulger, aged 84 , is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences plus five years. Before announcing her sentence, the judge tells Bulger that the ‘scope, callousness and depravity of your crimes are almost unfathomable.’ She says they are made ‘all the more heinous because they were all about money.’
Oct. 30, 2018: Bulger is found dead inside USP Hazelton at 8.20am, the day after he was transferred to the federal prison in West Virginia.