HAZELTON, W.Va. — The family of Whitey Bulger plans a $200 million wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government in connection with the 89-year-old crime boss’ death at the Hazelton federal prison in Preston County.
Bulger was killed just 11 hours after arriving at Hazelton last October. He had been transferred from another prison.
Bulger was convicted of 31 of 32 federal racketeering charges, including 11 murders, in 2013 and sentenced to two life terms plus five years.
In September of 2014, Bulger was sent to the Coleman II United States Penitentiary in Sumterville, Florida. On October 29, 2018 he was transferred to Hazelton.
The primary suspect in the killing was mafia hit man Freddy Geas, he has never disputed his role in the killing.
“We believe that James Bulger was deliberately placed in harm’s way,” the Bulger family said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. “There is simply no other explanation for the transfer of someone in his condition and inmate status to be placed in the general population of one of the country’s most violent federal penitentiaries.”
At the time of his death Boston Globe investigative reporter Shelly Murphy said during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” that it seemed strange for Bulger to be transferred to Hazelton.
“We know there were people at that prison, not just the guy now suspected in the murder, but others that have Boston ties there,” she said. “It’s just a little strange they would put Whitey in a place with known adversaries.”
Bulger was the third inmate killed within seven months.
The family also says that because of all the civil judgments and restitution orders against Bulger they would never benefit from a court decision in their favor.