Behind Bars With Genovese Family Associate Fotios "Freddy" Geas—No. 1 Suspect In Whitey Bulger Murder—And Others...

"Freddy was extremely mild mannered. Every morning (we) would pick up the three of them for trial (Freddy and Ty Geas, and Arthur Nigro).... I always patted down and shackled Freddy. He always walked out of the cell first, followed by Ty, and Nigro lagging behind last. They walked out in the same order every day for four months. That stuck in my mind because I knew Nigro was a “boss” but to me, Freddy seemed to take on that role."

That was one of the things we learned during a recent chat with a former deputy marshal who spent considerable time on the job getting to know numerous members and associates of organized crime in New York, including former Genovese family acting boss Arthur Nigro and brothers Ty and Freddy Geas, both former members of the Genovese family's Springfield Crew. 

Fotios and Ty Geas

Fotios, left, and brother Ty, who got life sentences for the slaying of mob boss Big Al Bruno.

Freddy Geas also is the number one suspect in the brutal murder of James (Whitey) Bulger, who was found beaten to death inside a West Virginia prison in October 2018.

 And as recently reported, two years and nine months later, no one has been charged with the murder—though Freddy Geas and two other inmates who are suspects in the casePaul J. DeCologero and Sean McKinnon—all remain in the special housing unit at US Penitentiary Hazelton, locked in tiny cells for 23 hours a day.

In 2011, former Genovese acting boss Arthur Nigro, who oversaw Springfield from the Bronx, and Fotios (aka Freddy) and Ty were found guilty of a litany of crimes, including the 2003 murder of Adolfo (Big Al) Bruno, the Genovese family capo--who was known to wear Hawaiian shirts and puff on oversized stogies--who had overseen the Springfield Crew when he was shot to death.

Helping put the trio away was Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta, who escaped the noose by flipping for the Feds when he was arrested for Bruno’s murder. He went on to be the key witness against his former cohorts.

Freddy, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 after a three-week trial in New York City, worked as an enforcer for Bingy and helped him pull off the murders of Bruno and associate Gary Westerman. In addition, Freddy was part of a plot to extort a local strip club owner for $12,000 a month, and he and Bingy also plotted other murder schemes against local rivals that were never carried out.

The younger Geas brother, Ty, amassed a violent rap sheet alongside his brother and had worked as Arillotta’s muscle and met with the same fate at trial.

Nigro, the acting boss who oversaw the Springfield Crew from the Bronx, also was sentenced to life in prison. He died in 2019 while serving the sentence.

The Geas brothers were originally sentenced to the same federal prison in Kentucky but have since been split up to maximum security federal penitentiaries in California (for Ty) and West Virginia (for Fotios).

"Working for the marshals, you spend a considerable amount of time with inmates," the former deputy marshal, who would only speak to us if we would grant him anonymity (which we did), told us recently.

The following is in his own words (and was only lightly edited):

I definitely got to know some of the inmates on a personal level. Probably the most interesting was Fotios Geas. I was assigned to his trial along with his brother and Artie Nigro. I was shocked when I saw that he killed Bulger. It’s weird to think I have some sort of connection to some of these guys from spending so much time with them.

I didn’t know anything about the Geas brothers, Nigro or anything involving Springfield Massachusetts organized crime before I was assigned to the trial. The only background info I got from my boss was that Freddy and Ty “beat up a guard at some jail they were at. So watch your back.”

Freddy was extremely mild mannered. Every morning four of us would pick up the three of them for trial (Freddy, Ty, and Nigro). For some reason I always patted down and shackled Freddy. He always walked out of the cell first, followed by Ty, and Nigro lagging behind last. They walked out in the same order everyday for four months. That stuck in my mind because I knew Nigro was a “boss” but to me, Freddy seemed to take on that role.

I sat behind Freddy for the duration of the trial. Freddy’s lawyer would hand him a tin of Altoids every morning. Every single day Freddy would take one, pop it in his mouth, turn around and offer me one. Everyday I turned it down simply for the optics of it, but he still offered it.

Arthur Nigro
Genovese family acting boss Arthur Nigro.

Ty was the complete opposite. The first day of jury selection, judge Castel pronounced their last name as gay-us. This drove Ty insane. Inside the courtroom, his face turned bright red and he kept leaning into his lawyer whispering. Shortly after we took a break and we escorted them back into the holding cell area and Ty exploded. He firmly believed the judge pronounced his name that way as some sort of direct insult. I was stunned at his level of anger. Me, the 3 other marshals and Freddy all had a hand on Ty telling him to calm down. After a few minutes we convinced him it was an honest mistake and he accepted it. That’s when I knew Ty was nuts.

Ty got extremely comfortable around me. Maybe because I was younger and I wouldn’t bark orders at him like other marshals. Ty started off by slowly talking about his criminal history. He would describe in detail bar fights he had been in while living in Springfield. I broke the ice with Ty by saying I was glad he didn’t have a Boston accent. That made him laugh and he started talking non stop after that. I noticed as Ty let his guard down, Freddy would watch Ty talk, then his eyes would dart over to me as if to carefully evaluate my reaction.

Anthony Arillotta took the stand against the three of them during the trial. As we walked back to MCC one day, Ty gave me his reasoning as to why Arillotta flipped. Ty went into great detail on how he had an affair with Arillotta’s wife. He explained how Arillotta’s wife wore a dog collar while they had anal sex. Ty, Nigro, the three other marshals and I were all laughing at Ty’s story.

Freddy was stoned faced staring at Ty. It was clear he didn’t want Ty talking so much (Ty didn’t pick up on this). Ty then turned to me and said “Maybe the marshal would put me in the same cell as Arillotta for a few minutes?”

Freddy immediately snapped “that’s enough.” Ty kept his mouth shut for the rest of the walk.