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Accused lookout in James ‘Whitey’ Bulger prison killing pleads guilty, gets no extra time | News, sports, jobs

Accused lookout in James ‘Whitey’ Bulger prison killing pleads guilty, gets no extra time |  News, sports, jobs
Accused lookout in James ‘Whitey’ Bulger prison killing pleads guilty, gets no extra time |  News, sports, jobs


(Court Reports – Photo Illustration/MetroCreative)

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) – The man accused of acting as a lookout during the killing of infamous Boston gangster James “White” Bulger will serve no additional prison time after pleading guilty Monday to a charge of lying to federal agents. Sean McKinnon, who was wearing shackles, was hugged by both his attorneys after U.S. District Judge Thomas Kleeh agreed to prosecutors’ recommendation that he serve 22 months in custody after his indictment. McKinnon, along with two other inmates, was charged with the 2018 murder at a troubled West Virginia prison. Photos “Freddy” Geas and Paul J. DeCologero are accused of repeatedly punching Bulger in the head within hours of Bulger being taken to jail. The plea deals for the three were announced on May 13. Plea hearings and sentencing are scheduled for August 1 for DeCologero and September 6 for Geas. McKinnon was released from USP Hazelton in 2022 after serving a sentence for stealing guns from a firearms dealer. He had been released on federal supervision when the indictment was handed down just weeks later in August 2022. McKinnon was scheduled to be flown back to Florida later Monday.
“We are happy that he is being released,” said attorney Katie Cimono. A charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against McKinnon was dismissed. McKinnon could have faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the false statement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Flower said Geas and DeCologero spent about seven minutes in Bulger’s cell while McKinnon went to a common area of ​​the jail before returning. McKinnon later told FBI special agents “he was not aware of what had happened to Mr. Bulger,” said Flower. “He did indeed know.”
Cimino argued that McKinnon’s lie “Didn’t harm Mr. Bulger.”
No one stepped forward when the judge asked if family members wanted to speak before McKinnon was sentenced. According to prosecutors, DeCologero, a Massachusetts mobster, told an inmate witness that Bulger was a… “to steal” and that as soon as he came into their unit, they planned to kill him. DeCologero, a former mob hitman, also told an inmate that he and Geas used a belt with a lock on it to bludgeon him to death. Geas and DeCologero were identified as suspects shortly after Bulger’s death, but remained unpunished for years as the investigation continued. Last year, the Justice Department said it would not seek a death sentence for Geas and DeCologero, who were charged with murder along with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, which amounts to life in prison. Bulger, who led Boston’s largely Irish mafia in the 1970s and 1980s, was also an FBI informant who provided the bureau with information about his gang’s main rival. He became one of the country’s most wanted fugitives after fleeing Boston in 1994 thanks to a tip from his FBI handler that he was about to be indicted. He was captured at the age of 81, after more than 16 years on the run. Bulger was convicted in 2013 of a string of 11 murders and dozens of other gangland crimes, many of which were committed while he was allegedly an FBI informant. Bulger was killed hours after being transferred from a lockup in Florida to USP Hazelton in West Virginia. After the killing, experts criticized his transfer to Hazelton, where workers had already raised alarms about violence and understaffing, and his placement among the general population instead of more protective housing. A Justice Department inspector general investigation in 2022 found that his murder was the result of multiple layers of management failure, widespread incompetence and flawed policies at the Bureau of Prisons. The inspector general found no evidence of this “bad intention” by all the agency’s employees, but said a series of bureaucratic blunders left Bulger at the mercy of rival gangsters. DeCologero, who was part of a gang led by his uncle, was convicted of buying heroin that was used to kill a teenage girl who his uncle wanted dead because he feared she would betray the crew to the police . After the heroin failed to kill her, another man broke her neck, dismembered her body and buried her remains in the woods, court records show. Geas was a close associate of the mafia and acted as an enforcer, but was not a civil servant “made” member because he is Greek and not Italian. He and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for their roles in several violent crimes, including the 2003 murder of Adolfo. “Big All” Bruno, the boss of a Genovese crime family in Springfield, Massachusetts. Another mobster ordered Bruno’s killing because he was angry that he had spoken to the FBI, prosecutors said.


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