Official: Mafia hit man suspected in Whitey Bulger's slaying

BOSTON (AP) — A Mafia hit man who is said to hate "rats" is under suspicion in the slaying of former Boston crime boss and longtime FBI informant James "Whitey" Bulger, who was found dead hours after he was transferred to a West Virginia prison, an ex-investigator briefed on the case said Wednesday.

The former official said that Fotios "Freddy" Geas and at least one other inmate are believed to have been involved in Bulger's killing. The longtime investigator was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Authorities have not disclosed the cause of death.

Among the many unanswered questions after Bulger was found dead on Tuesday: Why was he moved to the prison? And why was a frail 89-year-old like Bulger — a known "snitch" — placed in the general population instead of more protective housing?

Geas, 51, and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for their roles in several violent crimes, including the 2003 killing of Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, a Genovese crime family boss who was gunned down in a Springfield, Massachusetts, parking lot.

Private investigator Ted McDonough, who knew Geas, told The Boston Globe: "Freddy hated rats."

"Freddy hated guys who abused women. Whitey was a rat who killed women. It's probably that simple," McDonough told the newspaper, which first reported that Geas was under suspicion.

7 PHOTOS
History of Whitey Bulger
See Gallery
History of Whitey Bulger
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 6: University of Massachusetts President William Bulger, brother of fugitive Boston mobster James 'Whitey' Bulger, is sworn in before a congressional committee lead by U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform probing ties between FBI agents and mob informants, at Suffolk Superior Court House December 6, 2002 in Boston, Massachusetts. Bulger refused to answer any of the committee's questions citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The panel wanted to question Bulger about his brother James 'Whitey' Bulger, a notorious gang leader wanted in connection with 21 murders. 'Whitey' Bulger was also a valued informant who provided the FBI with information about New England cells of the Italian Mafia. (Photo by Douglas McFadd/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 2: Two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) artist composite images of fugitive James 'Whitey' Bulger are shown in this handout photo released by the FBI January 2, 2003 in Washington, DC. Bulger is on the FBI's top ten most wanted fugitive list for crimes related to his involvement with the Mafia, specifically on charges of racketeering, extortion and drug trafficking. Bulger has also been charged with being involved in the murders of 21 people. (Photo by FBI/Getty Images)
View of the door of the appartment 303 of the Princess Eugenia building in Santa Monica, California, on June 23, 2011, where James 'Whitey' Bulger was arrested June 22. The FBI finally caught the 81-year-old Bulger who was living for more than 10 years, with his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig, under the names of Charles and Carol Gasko, on the third floor of the Princess Eugenia, a three-story, 28-unit building of one- and two-bedroom apartments near the ocean in Santa Monica. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JUNE 19: Mary Bulger, wife of William Bulger, listens as her husband testifies before the House Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill June 19, 2003 in Washington, DC. Bulger is the brother of James 'Whitey' Bulger, an organized crime figure on the FBI's ten most-wanted list. The committee held the hearing to investigate the use of informants by the Justice Department. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 23: Mary Prang, Special Agent wit the FBI, adjusts a poster featuring fugitives Boston crime boss James 'Whitey' Bulger along with his companion Catherine Greig before a news conference by Steven Martinez, FBI assistant director in charge in Los Angeles, to discuss the arrest of Bulger and Greig at the Los Angeles Federal Building on June 23, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The FBI announced June 23, 2011 that Bulger was captured in his home in Santa Monica, California by the FBI after a 26-year manhunt when a tip lead law enforcement to the reputed mobster. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JUNE 24: Reporters stand outside the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse as James 'Whitey' Bulger and girlfriend Catherine Greig are arraigned June 24, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Bulger is wanted for the alleged murders of 19 people dating back to the mid 90's and Greig is wanted for harboring a criminal. Both were arrested in Santa Monica, California on Wednesday after 16 years on the run. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JUNE 24: Spectators stand outside the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse as James 'Whitey' Bulger and girlfriend Catherine Greig are arraigned June 24, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Bulger is wanted for the alleged murders of 19 people dating back to the mid 90's and Greig is wanted for harboring a criminal. Both were arrested in Santa Monica, California on Wednesday after 16 years on the run. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

It was not clear whether Geas has an attorney. Several other lawyers who represented him over the years didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

An FBI spokeswoman in Pittsburgh declined to comment on Geas. Federal officials said only that they are investigating the death as a homicide.

"What I don't understand is why the Federal Bureau of Prisons would transfer a super high-publicity inmate, who is a known snitch, to general population of a high-security prison," said Cameron Lindsay, a former federal prison warden who now works as a jail security consultant. "You've got to be smarter than that."

He added: "If I was the warden of Hazelton, I would have never, ever allowed him to be put within my general population. It is just too risky."

Bulger's death was the third killing in the past six months at the prison, where union officials have raised concerns about dozens of vacant jobs. Two inmates were killed in fights with other prisoners in September and April.

Five members of Congress wrote to Attorney General Sessions last week about what they saw as chronic understaffing at USP Hazelton and other federal prisons.

Bulger led South Boston's Irish mob for decades and became an FBI informant who supplied information on the New England Mafia, his gang's main rival, in an era when bringing down the Italian mob was a top national priority for the bureau.

Tipped off that he was about to be indicted, Bulger became a fugitive and eluded authorities for 16 years before being captured in 2011. He was convicted in 2013 in 11 underworld slayings and a long list of other crimes and was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

He had just arrived Monday at USP Hazelton, a high-security prison in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. He had previously been in a prison in Florida, with a stopover at a transfer facility in Oklahoma City. Federal Bureau of Prisons officials and his attorney declined to comment on why he was being moved.

Bulger's attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., blamed his death on prison officials, saying Bulger "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."

Bureau of Prison officials had no comment on Carney's remarks.

The Geas brothers were not made members of the Mafia because they were Greek, not Italian. But they were close associates of the mob and acted as enforcers.

___

Associated Press reporters Eric Tucker and Mike Balsamo in Washington and John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia contributed to this report.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.