A Mafia hitman who is said to hate “rats” is under suspicion in the killing of former Boston crime boss and long-time FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger, a former investigator briefed on the matter said.
Bulger was found dead just hours after he was transferred to a West Virginia prison.
The official said that Fotios “Freddy” Geas and at least one other inmate are believed to have been involved in Bulger’s killing.
Authorities have not disclosed the cause of death for the 89-year-old Bulger. He was found dead on Tuesday.
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, car park.
“Freddy hated guys who abused women. Whitey was a rat who killed women. It’s probably that simple,” Mr McDonough told the newspaper, which first reported that Geas was under suspicion.
An FBI spokeswoman in Pittsburgh declined to comment on Geas. Federal officials said only that they are investigating the death as a homicide.
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 nearly two decades before being captured in 2011. He was convicted in 2013 in 11 underworld killings and a host of other crimes and was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
He had just arrived on 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.
Bulger’s lawyer, JW 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”.
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.