Three men were indicted in the beating death of James “Whitey” Bulger at a federal prison in West Virginia. The attack called attention to spiking violence and security failures across prison systems. Fotios "Freddy" Geas, 55, Paul "Pauly" DeCologero, 48, and Sean McKinnon, 36, were charged with conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Geas and DeCologero are accused of striking Bulger in the head multiple times at the Hazleton U.S. Penitentiary, USA Today reports. Geas and DeCologero also were charged with aiding and abetting first degree murder, along with assault resulting in serious bodily injury. To help manage the rising security, violence and staffing problems, the Justice Department has installed the former chief of the Oregon Department of Corrections, Colette Peters, to lead the federal prison system.
Bulger, nicknamed “Whitey” for his bright platinum hair – was the head of a violent South Boston crime ring known as the Winter Hill Gang from the 1970s into the 1990s. He was one of the most-pursued criminals, eluding authorities for 16 years until his capture in 2011. At his death, the frail 89-year-old crime boss used a wheel chair while serving a life sentence for 11 murders and other crimes. Bulger was found in his cell by two officers he failed to arrive for breakfast. The officers initially believed he was sleeping after finding him in his bunk wrapped in covers. Noticing Bulger unresponsive the officers removed his bed wrap to reveal a bloodied and severely beaten face and upper body. "It was a beat-down," said one of the staffers who viewed the body, "It could have been done with fists or it could have been done with a lock in a sock." Bulger’s family has sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons and 30 unnamed employees, alleging they failed to protect him. Bulger was the third inmate killed in six months at Hazelton, where workers and advocates had long been warning about dangerous conditions.