Boston mob kingpin James “Whitey” Bulger was beaten to death in a West Virginia prison cell just one day after his arrival at U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton, according to his death certificate, obtained Thursday by several news networks.
The document, which was published by Boston’s WHDH-TV, states that Bulger, 89, was found unresponsive at 8:21 a.m. Oct. 30, 2018. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
He is listed as having died of “blunt force injuries of the head” and was “assaulted by other(s),” suggesting the number of attackers was unknown when the document was filed.
Under “approximate interval between onset and death,” the document simply reads, “minutes.”
Shortly after Bulger’s killing, The Boston Globe reported that Freddy Geas, a fellow inmate and convicted hit man who “hated rats,” was considered a suspect.
Hazelton, a high-security federal prison in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, has long been among the most dangerous lockups in the nation, reportedly earning it the nickname “Misery Mountain” among inmates.
One month after Bulger’s death, NBC News reported that another prisoner was struck with a padlock, the same object used in the gangster’s murder. Unlike Bulger, he survived.Two months later, five of the prison’s employees were assaulted within 72 hours, according to the local Preston County News & Journal.
Following Bulger’s killing, a handful of lawmakers, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), wrote to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, sounding the alarm on conditions at Hazelton and other federal lockups in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
In their letter, lawmakerscited the deaths of Bulger and Ian Thorne, an inmate who was killed in April 2018, as evidence of inadequate staffing and a lack of full-time correction officers.
Bulger was captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, California, after spending more than 16 years on the run. For more than two decades, the Irish American led the notorious Winter Hill Gang, named after the Somerville neighborhood in which it was formed.
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