The main suspect in the killing of James 'Whitey' Bulger believed the mobster had framed his friend for murder, a lawyer has claimed.
Bulger, 89, was killed in the high-security Hazelton penitentiary in West Virginia on Tuesday a day after he was transferred from Oklahoma.
The 89-year-old, who was a longtime FBI informant, had been savagely beaten and had his tongue cut out.
Fotios 'Freddy' Geas, a Mafia hitman who is said to hate 'rats', is under investigation for Bulger's murder. Geas and at least one other inmate are believed to have been involved in the killing.
Today, Geas' former lawyer said he did not know if Geas was involved but said Geas believed Bulger had helped frame his friend Frederick Weichel.
James 'Whitey' Bulger was found dead on Tuesday after being transferred a day earlier to the high-security Hazelton penitentiary in West Virginia. He is pictured above in 2011
Fred Weichel arrives in a courtroom in Brockton Superior Court on Aug. 15, 2016, as his lawyers present evidence seeking to overturn his 1981 murder conviction
Weichel, who operated on the fringe of Bulger's South Boston criminal gang, was convicted in the 1980 shooting of Robert LaMonica on a street in Braintree and served 36 years behind bars.
A witness saw a man fleeing the scene and later picked out Weichel from a police array.
Fotios 'Freddy' Geas, a Mafia hitman who is said to hate 'rats', is under investigation for Bulger's murder
Last year Weichel's conviction was overturned when a judge ruled the witness was unreliable and officials failed to give the defense a police report suggesting another possible suspect.
Weichel's release was not to be considered an acquittal, the judge said, but prosecutors decided against a re-trial because six witnesses had died.
While Weichel was behind bars, Bulger wrote letters from jail to Wichel's lawyers claiming he knew Weichel didn't kill LaMonica.
In the letters Bulger, said a friend of Weichel's told him he was afraid because he had beaten up a man in a fight and the man's friend, LaMonica, was promising retribution. Bulger said he told the man to 'get him first, kill him.'
Bulger said what Weichel was going through was a 'fate worse than death'. He wrote that LaMonica's killer is a boxer who was friendly with Weichel.
But Bulger refused to sign an affidavit or testify on Weichel's behalf. He told Weichel's defence team: 'I have never testified against any man, have never caused any man to be put in prison.' He called it a 'waste of time' to testify.
Bulger, who led the Boston’s Winter Hill Gang for more than 20 years, said he didn't even testify in his own case, let alone Weichel's.
Weichel operated on the fringe of Bulger's South Boston criminal gang.
His role was to 'put marijuana dealers in line'.
In 1980 a man called Robert LaMonica was shot dead in the street in Braintee.
A witness saw a man fleeing the scene, drew a sketch of the man and later picked out Weichel from a police array.
The witness, 21-year old John Foley, admitted he was drunk and only caught a split-second glimpse of the fleeing killer.
Weichel maintained his innocence but was convicted and jailed.
In 2016, Weichel's lawyers presented a memo from a Braintree detective that said at least prison 10 guards identified the person in the sketch as Rocco Balliro, who died in 2012.
Weichel's conviction was overturned and he was released after 36 years behind bars.
The judge said Weichel's release was not to be considered an acquittal but prosecutors decided against a re-trial because six witnesses had died.
He also claimed he had been 'falsely accused' of crimes and was able to empathize with Weichel but could help no further.
When he was released last year, Weichel said: 'I think everybody in the world knew that Whitey screwed me.'
Weichel and Geas spent time together in a Massachusetts prison but Weichel said he didn't think he spoke to Geas about Bulger during that time.
Daniel Kelly, a lawyer who represented Geas, told the Boston Globe: 'He referenced that [Weichel] was framed.'
It comes after an ex-con claimed federal officials wanted to 'get rid of' Bulger and transferred him to a violent prison on purpose just 24 hours before he was found beaten to death.
Many questions remain unanswered in relation to his death, including why Bulger was moved to the prison and why he was placed in the general population.
Ex-con Richard Stratton, who is now a TV producer, told the New York Post it was hard to believe that Bulger would not have been placed in protective custody given he was a known snitch.
'He's going to be exposed in a