Inmate Linked to Bulger Killing Won't Serve Extra Time

Alleged lookout Sean McKinnon pleads guilty to lying to federal agents
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 17, 2024 5:01 PM CDT
Inmate Linked to Bulger Killing Won't Serve Extra Time
This June 23, 2011 booking photo provided by the US Marshals Service shows notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger.   (AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service, File)

The man accused of acting as a lookout during the prison killing of notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger won't serve additional prison time after pleading guilty Monday to a charge of lying to federal agents. Sean McKinnon, wearing shackles, was hugged by both of his attorneys after US District Judge Thomas Kleeh agreed with prosecutors' recommendation that he be given credit for serving 22 months in custody after his indictment, the AP reports.

  • McKinnon was accused along with two other inmates in the 2018 killing at a troubled West Virginia prison. Fotios "Freddy" Geas and Paul J. DeCologero are accused of repeatedly hitting Bulger in the head within hours of Bulger being transferred to USP Hazelton.
  • Plea deals for the three were disclosed May 13. Plea hearings and sentencings are set for Aug. 1 for DeCologero and Sept. 6 for Geas.

  • McKinnon was released from Hazelton in 2022 after completing a sentence for stealing guns from a firearms dealer. He was on federal supervised release when the indictment was handed down just weeks later in August 2022.
  • A charge against McKinnon of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder was dismissed. McKinnon could have faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the false statement charge. "We're delighted that he's being released," defense attorney Katie Cimono said.
  • Assistant US Attorney Brandon Flower said Geas and DeCologero spent about seven minutes in Bulger's cell while McKinnon went to a common area of the prison before returning. McKinnon later told FBI special agents "he was not aware of what happened to Mr. Bulger," Flower said. "He in fact did know." Cimino argued that McKinnon's lie "did not harm Mr. Bulger."
(More Whitey Bulger stories.)

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