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Three Inmates Charged in 'Whitey' Bulger Killing

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By Jorge Casuso

August 19, 2022 -- A Mafia hitman and two other inmates have been charged with the 2018 beating death of former Santa Monica resident James "Whitey" Bulger in a West Virginia federal prison, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Bulger -- who lived undercover in a Santa Monica apartment for nearly 16 years -- was killed in his Federal prison cell, where he was serving two consecutive life sentences for 11 murders and other crimes committed while he was head of Boston's Irish mob ("Former Santa Monica Resident 'Whitey' Bulger Found Dead in Prison Cell," October 30, 2018).

Prosecutors charged Fotios “Freddy” Geas, 55; Paul J. DeCologero, 48, and Sean McKinnon, 36, with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Prosecutors allege that Geas and DeCologero struck Bulger multiple times in the head, causing his death.

They also charged the two men with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and aiding and abetting in first degree murder.

At the time of Bulger's killing, DeCologero -- who prosecutors said headed an organized crime crew in Lowell, Massachusetts -- was serving a sentence of life plus 25 years for ordering the murder of a teenager, racketeering and firearms offenses, according to the Washington Post.

Gaes, a reputed former mob enforcer, was serving a life term at the West Virginia prison for the 2003 murders of Genovese crime family boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno and associate Gary Westerman, the Post reported.

He was separately charged for murder by a federal inmate serving a life sentence, the Justice Department said.

McKinnon, who for a time shared a cell with Gaes, was serving an eight-year sentence for stealing guns from a Vermont firearms store, according to NBC News.

Bulger's murder on October 30, 2018, has "raised questions about why the known 'snitch' was placed in the general (prison) population instead of more protective housing," according to AP.

Questions also have been raised concerning the investigation into Bulger's death, which dragged on after Geas and DeCologero were quickly identified as suspects but were not charged, according to AP.

From 1996 until his arrest in 2011, Bulger -- -- a one-time FBI informant who disappeared after learning that he was about to be indicted -- lived with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, on the third floor of the Princess Eugenia apartments at 1012 Third Street where they paid $1,145 in rent.

The two lived under the assumed names Charlie and Carol Gasko in the quiet, well-heeled neighborhood where they were considered model tenants by neighbors and building staff ("Whitey Bulger Lived in Santa Monica 15 Years, Reports Say," June 24, 2011).

They would often stroll down the Third Street Promenade or head to the weekly Farmers Market in Downtown Santa Monica. Bulger, who had a keen interest in history, liked to frequent libraries, authorities said.

Bulger was arrested in June 2011 outside the apartment building by FBI agents after a renewed publicity effort turned up a tip on Greig.

In August 2013, Bulger was convicted of 11 murders and of extortion and racketeering schemes that allegedly brought in more than $25 million ("Jury Finds Mobster James 'Whitey' Bulger Guilty of Murder, Drug Dealing," August 13, 2013).

During the two-month trial, prosecutors portrayed Bulger, who spent 16 years on the FBI's list of 10 most wanted fugitives, as a ruthless crime boss responsible for murdering rival gangsters and innocents.

Bulger stood accused of, among other things, strangling two women -- a charge he vehemently denied -- and executing two men after spending hours interrogating them while they were chained to stairs, according to an AP report at the time of the trial.

The prosecutors' portrayal undermined the image of the gangster as a Robin Hood-style protector of working-class South Boston.

Four years after his conviction, Bulger was portrayed by actor Johnny Depp in the 2015 film "Black Mass."

According to the website IMDb, the film tells "the true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf."

Shortly after Bulger's death, Enrique Sanchez, the maintenance supervisor at the Princess Eugenia, told the Boston Globe he had received letters from the former rent control tenant, who feared for his life in prison.

“‘I have to defend myself or they’ll kill me,’” Sanchez said Bulger wrote him. “I told him to take care of himself because there is not a lack of people who want to kill you.”

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