October 9, 2022 — The $1,000,000 civil lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts filed by exonerated former Boston Irish mob figure Freddy Weichel for his wrongful incarceration related to a murder he was unjustly convicted of more than 40 years ago got underway last week. The 70-year old Weichel was released from prison in 2017 after his state-court conviction was thrown off the books when more corruption linked to slain Boston Irish mob boss James (Whitey) Bulger was uncovered.
Weichel was found guilty of the May 30, 1980 murder of Bobby LaMonica at a 1981 jury trial. Prior to his indictment, Weichel operated on the outer fringes of Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang. Bulger essentially put Weichel in place as a human shield on behalf of Winter Hill Gang member Tommy (The Boxer) Barrett, using his cozy relationship with the FBI to steer suspicion away from Barrett and towards the innocent Weichel.
Weichel’s lawsuit targets Norfolk County and the city of Braintree for wrongful prosecution. Bulger ruled the Irish underworld in New England from the 1970s into the mid-1990s when he went on the run and spent the next decade and a half as a fugitive. Actors Johnny Depp and Jack Nicholson played Bulger in films (2006’s The Departed and 2015 Black Mass, respectively), introducing him into the American pop-culture ethos and creating a mystique of evil surrounding his name and reputation.
During his bloody reign on the streets, Bulger was doubling as a confidential informant for the FBI and benefiting from its protection. He was finally caught hiding in Los Angeles in 2011 with his longtime girlfriend and brought up on charges of ordering or personally carrying out 13 gangland homicides. Before he was killed in an October 2018 prison attack, Bulger wrote a letter to Weichel’s attorney telling him Weichel wasn’t guilty of his crime. Despite the admission, Bulger steadfastly refused to testify or sign a sworn affidavit to that fact.
Springfield (MA) mob hit man Freddy Geas, a one-time cellmate of Weichel’s, was recently charged with beating Bulger to death inside his cell in a West Virginia federal correctional facility hours after his arrival. Sources claim Geas’ motive for attacking an 89-year wheelchair-bound Bulger was his loyalty to Weichel. Geas is serving two life prison terms for a pair of 2003 mob slayings.
Tommy Barrett himself penned a letter to Weichel’s mother Gloria confessing to murdering LaMonica in the months following Weichel’s conviction. Weichel testified that Bulger approached him in the days after LaMonica was shot to death outside his Braintree apartment building across from Faxon Park and threatened to hurt him and his family if he ever implicated Barrett to authorities in LaMonica’s homicide. The story was retold upon Weichel taking the stand in his civil suit last Wednesday.
LaMonica had gotten into a bar fight with Barrett less than two weeks before he was murdered. Weichel, who was friends with Barrett, was present at the altercation and another one on a street corner two days later in South Boston.
According to appellate court records, Bulger instructed Barrett to “strike first” in his growing feud with LaMonica. These records indicate that LaMonica made threats towards Barrett and the Winter Hill Gang as a whole. Bulger instructed his moles in the FBI to steer clear of LaMonica’s murder investigation even though he admitted to them he knew Weichel wasn’t involved in the crime, per court filings. Specifically, a police report naming Barrett as the doer and Weichel a patsy was buried and never turned over to Weichel’s attorney in the pre-trial discovery process.
Weichel was found guilty based mainly on shaky eyewitness testimony placing Weichel at the scene. In reality, Weichel was drinking at Bulger’s Triple O’s Lounge in South Boston at the time LaMonica was murdered.
Barrett, 69, used to be a pro boxer and dodged a television investigative-reporting camera crew back in 2017 on a construction site in Boston he was working at. Called in front of multiple grand juries connected to the LaMonica case through the years, Barrett has always asserted his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
This article was originally posted here