Whitey Bulger’s Killers Tried To Cut Out His Tongue

FBI officials discuss Whitey Bulger's capture
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Infamous Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was found dead in a federal prison in West Virginia on Tuesday, and new reports suggest his death was a brutal murder ordered by the mob.

Sources told TMZ that Bulger’s alleged killers “brutally beat him with a lock in a sock and used a shiv to try and gouge his eyes out,” while also attempting to cut out his tongue. Such signs are usually linked to a mob hit, and prison officials said it was essentially retaliation because the 89-year-old was “considered a rat and an informant who helped put away several members of the mob.”

According to the BBC, Bulger was killed just hours after arriving at the USP Hazelton prison, which houses 1,385 inmates, where he had just been transferred to. He had previously been incarcerated at a Florida jail where he was moved to in 2014 from another prison in Arizona. Bulger, who was convicted in 2013 of 11 murders, was serving a life sentence.

TMZ reported that the crooner was murdered in his cell at around 6 a.m., as opposed to previous reports that indicated he had been attacked in a common area. Sources said that four other inmates walked in his cell where he was sitting in his wheelchair and proceeded to brutally beat him up. Prison insiders added “there was a lot of blood in Bulger’s mouth,” but it still isn’t known for certain “if the tongue was actually removed.” Surveillance cameras allegedly captured footage of the group of inmates walking out of his cell with bloodied clothes, going back to their respective cells, and changing into new clothes before returning to the crime scene “with a mop and a bucket to clean up the mess.”

James 'Whitey' Bulger mugshot
Bulger’s life inspired several movies, including Oscar winner ‘The Departed.’ Federal Bureau of Prisons / Wikimedia Commons (GPL)

Fotios “Freddy” Geas, an inmate with ties to the mafia, is reportedly being investigated for the killing. CBS reported that Geas, 51, and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2011, and a private investigator claimed that “Freddy hated rats.” And while the details of Bulger’s death haven’t been officially announced yet, a local union official for correctional workers at the West Virginia prison told CBS that Tuesday morning’s incident was being treated as a “homicide.”

“This is the third homicide in seven months at our facility. We are very understaffed, we are short about 40 officers,” Richard Heldreth said over the phone. A Department of Corrections statement confirmed that the FBI has started an investigation.

Bulger had been arrested in California in 2011 after being on the run for 16 years. The life of the former leader of South Boston’s Winter Hill gang inspired several films, including Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp, and The Departed, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2007.