Felix Wilson was riding a bike the wrong way on East Ferry Street when he was arrested five years ago.
Today, the Buffalo man is the subject of stories in New York Times and Boston Globe.
Wilson, it turns out, was bunkmates with longtime New England crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger when Bulger was killed inside a West Virginia prison last month.
No one will comment on Wilson's involvement, if any, in the murder, except to confirm that he has been segregated from other inmates at Hazelton penitentiary.
"I would be surprised if he had any role in Whitey Bulger's murder," Buffalo defense lawyer Herbert L. Greenman said Tuesday.
Prison authorities are not commenting on Wilson's role, but confirmed three other inmates are also in solitary confinement — Fotios Geas, a former mafia hit man from Massachusetts, Paul J. DeCologero, a New England organized crime figure, and Sean McKinnon, an inmate with no known connection to organized crime.
All four men, including Wilson, were separated from the rest of the prison population shortly after Bulger's murder.
Known for his time as a crime boss in Boston and later as an FBI informant, Bulger was serving two life sentences when he was transferred to Hazelton, a federal prison with a reputation for violence.
Prison officials say he was transferred because of a threat he made against a staff member at his previous prison, Coleman II in Florida.
Bulger's conviction followed 16 years on the run, 12 of them on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and a criminal career that included 11 murders.
In contrast, Wilson was serving time for gun possession and was in the midst of a 30-month prison sentence at Hazelton when he was moved to a new cell with Bulger.
Arrested in August of 2013, Wilson was found in possession of a gun when police stopped him while he was riding his bike on East Ferry Street. He had a previous conviction for attempted robbery and, as part of a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's office, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a weapon.
When Wilson was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, he was facing a recommended sentence of 30 to 36 months in prison. Arcara gave him 30 months.
Greenman, a prominent criminal defense attorney, said he came to know Wilson and his mother during Wilson's criminal case and finds it hard to believe he would ever be involved in a murder.
"He's also about to be released from prison," he said of Wilson's scheduled release next year.
Bulger, who died within hours of his arrival at Hazelton, is believed to be at least the third inmate killed this year at Hazelton, a maximum security facility. He was beaten to death with a sock containing a padlock.
Nearly 90 at the time of his death, Bulger was in a wheelchair and suffering from heart problems. Prison authorities said his body was found wrapped in blankets on his bunk during rounds the morning after he arrived in late October.
His murder has raised questions about the wisdom of placing him at a prison with known organized crime figures and a reputation for punishing government informants.
News reports about Wilson's possible involvement in Bulger's killing indicated he was a native of New Hampshire but later made it clear he was resident of Buffalo.