EXCLUSIVE DETAILS: A son of one of the men accused of killing James "Whitey" Bulger after the reputed mob boss was discovered bludgeoned to death inside a federal lock-up nearly four years ago says he is still searching for answers as to why it took so long for Justice Department officials to charge his father.
Alex Geas, 28, received a letter from his father, Fotios "Freddy" Geas, on Aug. 14. Just three days later, Freddy was charged in connection with Bulger's death.
The news of Geas’ criminal charges was not necessarily shocking to his inner circle, Alex told Fox News Digital. But for more than a year the family and their attorney had publicly sought for the Department of Justice to either remove Freddy from solitary confinement or charge him, and now they’re questioning the reason behind the delay.
"I wouldn't say we're actively preparing, but this was always on the table to happen eventually. Our main reason of [speaking out] last year — if it's going to happen, it should happen now. It shouldn't happen in four, five, six, seven years."
Geas and his father’s lawyer, Daniel Kelly, spoke to Fox News Digital for a story in May 2021 in which they complained that Geas had been held in solitary confinement at West Virginia’s United States Penitentiary, Hazelton, since "almost immediately after" Bulger was fatally beaten on Oct. 30, 2018.
"I challenge the prison to either formally indict him or to transfer him, because this cannot keep going on like this," Alex Geas said last year.
Bulger was 89 when he was killed just hours after arriving at the federal lock-up, where he was housed in general population.
Prosecutors have accused Geas, 55, Paul J. DeCologero, 48, and Geas’ 36-year-old roommate, Sean McKinnon, of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, among other allegations.
They’ve said Geas and DeCologero allegedly repeatedly struck Bulger in the head using "a belt with a lock attached to it." They were said to have entered Bulger’s jail cell around 6 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2018, and were inside for about seven minutes while McKinnon allegedly kept watch at a nearby table.
Bulger was discovered on his bed roughly two hours later.
Geas and DeCologero were also charged with aiding and abetting first-degree murder, murder by a federal prisoner serving a life sentence and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. McKinnon, 36, was also charged with make false statements to a federal agent.
Attorneys for DeCologero and McKinnon were not identified as of press time Friday. McKinnon's mother and Geas' attorney did not respond to Fox News Digitals' requests for comment.
Alex Geas would not comment when asked on Thursday if he had any idea ahead of time whether his father would be charged with Bulger’s death.
He said he learned the news "whenever everything happened" and "just thought ahead to the next move."
"When you talk to my dad, it’s always, he’s always in a good mindset. He’s always doing great given the circumstances. But it’s never a depressing conversation," Geas said. "Even the next time we talk, it will be the same conversation. It will be normal. We’ll make fun of his brother, my uncle, a little bit. … We’ll talk about the Patriots."
Freddy Geas was still housed in solitary confinement up to the day he was indictment this month and remained housed there as of the last time Alex had spoken with him, his son said.
But Alex Geas said there is "no reason that this should have taken four years."
"It’s not like they had to go and hunt ... the whole investigation happened in there, first of all. So, everyone they had to investigate or interview or whatever it is right there in the prison. And even if my dad was transferred out to Colorado or to wherever he would have gone, it's not like they don't know where he is."
But Steven Friedland, a former federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia, said investigating the crime was likely more complicated because of where it took place.
"In the Whitey Bulger situation, you have someone who was killed in prison, which makes it easier and more difficult at the same time," said the award-winning professor and founding faculty member at Elon University Law School.
"You know your group from which it might have arisen — the group of suspects — but proof is going to be difficult. And when I say difficult, I mean you'll have lots of ulterior motives if people talk about what happened and how it occurred," Friedland told Fox News Digital. "So, it's very easy for someone to say, 'Oh, yeah, so-and-so did it,' and blame it on someone they don't like. And that kind of evidence is going to be less reliable when it's used in a court of law."
After news of the charges, an attorney representing Bulger’s family theorized that the Justice Department delayed criminal action in the case to avoid releasing any details that could benefit the family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government.
The lawsuit, filed in 2020, accused the BOP of failing to protect Bulger, who was a known "snitch" at the time. It was later dismissed. The attorney representing the family did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
But Friedland said prosecutors are used to working with criminal cases in which there are civil implications and are usually "not thinking about those other kinds of cases unless it will affect the prosecution."
He added that prosecutors were at one advantage in that the crimes were committed behind bars, therefore, the suspects were already in prison and investigators did not have to worry about tracking them down.
"I think the real issue here was probably – and we don't know, we're just speculating – but it probably, in part, was about the evidence. Did the prosecutor have reliable evidence that would say who did it and what were the circumstances?" Friedland went on. "They knew the circumstances because he was found, but he wasn't found until a couple hours later. So, that could lead to a lot of opportunity by many people."
Bulger, the ruthless leader who was at the helm of the South Boston-based Winter Hill Gang, was convicted in 2013 for his involvement in a slew of crimes, including 11 murders.
He was reported to have used a wheelchair around the time he was killed. Combination locks are available for commissary purchase at USP Hazelton for $6.50.
Prior to his move to West Virginia, the octogenarian was housed in facilities in Florida and Tucson, Arizona, the AP reported. Later on in his career, Bulger was also known, and some say hated, for being an FBI informant who ratted on the New England mob, his gang’s main rival, according to the AP.
Meanwhile, Geas was in the prison for his conviction in the 2003 murders of a Massachusetts crime boss and his associate, and for shooting a union head in New York, Masslive.com reported. Geas, who was convicted alongside his brother and a Genovese crime boss, was taken down with a help of a government informant — one of the trio’s former friends who had flipped, according to Kelly and the report. He was sentenced to two terms of life without parole, Kelly said.
After Bulger's death, some who knew Geas or were familiar with his case described him as having a distaste for informants.
"Freddy hated rats," Ted McDonough, a private investigator who knew Geas told the Boston Globe after the news of Bulger’s bludgeoning. "Freddy hated guys who abused women. Whitey was a rat who killed women. It’s probably that simple."
Prosecutors recently revealed that USP Hazelton inmates — including at least one of the three men charged in the mobster’s death — knew ahead of time about Bulger’s impending transfer to the facility.
Brian Kelly, one of the federal prosecutors who secured Bulger’s conviction, called Bulger a "psychotic killer" who carried out several of his murders himself.
"Whitey was accused of and convicted of running a sprawling criminal enterprise for almost two decades. And during those two decades, he was probably the most feared and dangerous, dangerous criminal in Boston. So, you know, everyone in Boston knew who he was," Kelly told Fox News Digital. "He was a hands-on killer. And that’s what made him so feared."
Kelly noted that not only that Bulger never should have been placed in general population but also that he shouldn’t have been transferred to a facility where so many Boston criminals were already incarcerated.
At trial, he said, the public not only got a glimpse into the horrid crimes committed at the hands of the mob boss but also heard on multiple occasions about how Bulger acted as an FBI informant.
"Certainly that would put a target on his back in the general prison system. So, until the very end, he was kept out of the general prison system for that very reason," Kelly, now a partner at Boston-based firm Nixon Peabody, told Fox News Digital on Thursday. "At a minimum, it was extremely poor judgment and probably just bureaucratic persona that led to him being put into a prison in West Virginia where there were Boston-based Mafia killers residing.
Upon learning the news of Bulger’s death, Kelly said Bulger had "victimized dozens of families," "and it;s not as though anyone is going to feel sorry for him."
"But at the same time, you know, the prison system is not supposed to, you know, tolerate that sort of attacks. And so, you know, it was curious, curious as to why he was put in general population," Kelly went on.
Much like Friedland, he said prosecutors often encounter difficulties investigating cases in prison settings, which could have led to the delay in charges.
"There’s not really, unfortunately, a sense of urgency because the perpetrators aren’t going anywhere," he said. "But I can’t really help them too much for taking their time to put a case together."
Asked if there was one moment he remembered in particular about his involvement in the Bulger prosecution, he said he thought of crying family members or the details of Bulger’s devastating crimes.
"Bulger himself in person was still a scary guy," he recalled. "He was one mean-looking guy when he was staring at me, and he was in his 80s. I can only imagine what he was like in his heyday."
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.