Notorious Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger's vicious slaying in a high-security West Virginia prison earlier this week shocked most of the nation. Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said he was stunned for a different reason.
“I’m not surprised that he got hit. I’m surprised that they let him get hit,” Davis told the Boston Globe.
The ex-Massachusettes cop joined a growing chorus of voices questioning if authorities were grossly negligent in Bulger's ambush murder at USP Hazelton in Bruceton Mills on Tuesday. Other critics have gone further -- questioning if prison officials may have been complicit.
FILE - This file June 23, 2011, booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James "Whitey" Bulger. (AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service, File)
Fotios “Freddy” Geas, 51, is being eyed as Bulger's killer, according to multiple reports. Geas, a Greek hitman for the Italian mob, is serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 2003 murders of Massachusetts mob boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno and his associate Gary Westerman.
Davis said he was surprised the prison didn’t do more to protect Bulger from a “convicted organized crime hit man from Massachusetts.”
Meanwhile, former drug smuggler Richard Stratton, who served eight years in prison and once asked Bulger for help, told the New York Post he couldn't believe the high-profile 89-year-old Bulger wasn't placed in protective custody immediately upon entering the West Virginia prison.
“It just seems impossible to me that this could have happened without awareness, not only at the level of the guards on the tier,” Stratton said. “He’s going to be exposed in a way where he can easily be killed, and then one day later he’s murdered."
Stratton noted Bulger had issues at an Arizona prison for his relationship with a female psychologist. He also had issues in 2014 in a Florida prison, the Boston Globe reported, citing prison documents. He was disciplined for several problems, including masturbating in front of a male staffer and threatening a female medical staffer.
“It’s not like Whitey’s going to stop f-----g scamming because he’s in prison,” Stratton told the New York Post. “It’s so obvious that they wanted to get rid of him, that he was a pain in the ass to them.”
Bulger was killed when he was attacked by three men in the general population sector of the prison, according to TMZ. One of the men used a lock tucked into a sock as a weapon and the group attempted to gouge the gangster’s eyes out and cut out his tongue, the gossip site reported, citing a source. Bulger's death was being treated as a suspected homicide.
"It’s so obvious that they wanted to get rid of him, that he was a pain in the ass to them."— Richard Stratton, ex-con-turned-journalist
Bulger, who was a fugitive for 16 years, was sentenced in 2013 to life in prison after being convicted of several crimes including racketeering and money-laundering. The jury believed he took part in 11 of 19 killings.
He was one of America’s most wanted criminals until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.
The medical examiner pronounced Bulger dead on Tuesday after “life-saving measures were initiated” and ultimately proved unsuccessful, the news release from the Bureau of Prisons said.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation was notified and an investigation has been initiated. No staff or other inmates were injured, and at no time was the public in danger,” the news release said.