Suspected lookout in Whitey Bulger murder is ordered back to West Virginia

A man accused of serving as a lookout during the fatal beating of notorious mobster Whitey Bulger has been ordered to be jailed and transported back to West Virginia for more legal proceedings.

Sean McKinnon, 36, appeared today in a federal courtroom in Florida, where he had been on federal supervised release. He was accused last week of serving as a lookout while Fotios “Freddy” Geas, 55, and Paul J. “Pauly” DeCologero, 48, carried out the slaying of Bulger at U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia.

Each was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, Geas and DeCologero have been charged with aiding and abetting first degree murder, along with assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Geas faces a separate charge for murder by a federal inmate serving a life sentence.

McKinnon faces a separate charge of making false statements to a federal agent.

James “Whitey” Bulger was serving two life terms for his role in 11 murders while working as a mob boss in the Boston area. Bulger had also been an FBI informant.

Bulger had served four years at Coleman II in central Florida when he was transferred in 2018 to Hazelton. He had only been there for a few hours when he was found beaten to death. 

While an investigation of his murder went forward, no charges were filed until last week.

“We wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything else involved, there wasn’t anyone else involved either inside the prison or outside who might have done something that led to this incident,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfeld of West Virginia’s northern district on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

“Ultimately what we came up with was charges for the three individuals we believe were responsible for this incident. If we felt that anyone else was responsible for the incident, they would have been charged as well.”

Geas is still incarcerated at USP Hazelton. DeCologero is no longer being held at USP Hazelton but remains housed in the federal prison system.

During a preliminary hearing on Monday, a judge ordered McKinnon to be jailed for a range of reasons, including the weight of evidence and his criminal history.

The federal judge in Florida also ordered McKinnon to be transported by U.S. marshals to West Virginia.

“Unfortunately, we deal with prison homicides on a somewhat regular basis here in the northern district. We’ve had a number of these out of USP Hazelton. It keeps us busy, but we’re used to it,” Ihlenfeld said.

“They’re difficult cases to investigate because you have a lot of inmate witnesses, many of whom end up in other facilities. You have to track them down in other parts of the country.”

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