Authorities make 1984 arrest in South Boston murder linked to Whitey Bulger

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By MARK PRATT The AU Times

BOSTON (TAUT) — The suspect in a nearly four-decade-old murder in South Boston that authorities linked to notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and his relentless control of drug trafficking in the neighborhood has been detained without bail on Tuesday.

Michael Lewis, 61, pleaded not guilty to first degree murder when arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court in connection with the July 1984 shooting death of Brian Watson, whose body was found along a New Hampshire highway about two months after she disappeared.

Lewis “categorically denies the allegations and looks forward to his day in court,” defense attorney James Sultan said.

The murder took place when Bulger, who was killed in a federal prison in West Virginia in 2018, terrorized the neighborhood. And while neither the suspect nor the victim had a direct connection to Bulger, his influence played a role, Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said after the arraignment.

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“We got a glimpse in the courtroom today of a very different Boston, a Boston that we can never allow again,” Hayden said. “After nearly 40 years, we remember the chaos and murder inflicted by cruel, corrupt and cold-hearted men.”

This lawless period in Boston history has often been romanticized in movies, said New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, who attended the arraignment to represent several law enforcement agencies in the state. State who contributed to the investigation.

“I think it’s a stark reminder that while Hollywood and others tend to glorify that era, the criminal actors of that era weren’t Robin Hoods, they weren’t heroes,” he said. he declares. “The human suffering and the toll of criminal acts committed during that time are still being felt today, and this case is an example of that.”

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Watson, 23, was last seen alive on July 16 or 17, 1984, and was reported missing by his mother on July 28 of that year, authorities said. Her body was found hidden among trees and bushes by a motorist who had stopped on Interstate 93 in Manchester, New Hampshire on September 16, 1984.

According to the prosecution’s account of events, Lewis, then 24, and another man involved in the drug trade scoured the neighborhood in July 1984 looking for a drug dealer who they believed had told Bulger that Lewis’ associate was selling angel dust. in South Boston.

As a result, Bulger had demanded a payment of $5,000 plus an additional $1,000 a week from the man, whose name was not released by prosecutors. Bulger, who was also an FBI informant, was known to shake off drug dealers doing business in South Boston.
The couple met Watson, who agreed to help them find the other dealer and got into their car, prosecutors said.

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“As the three men were driving through South Boston, Lewis suddenly turned, shot and killed Watson,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

Bulger, the role model of Jack Nicholson’s ruthless crime boss in Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film ‘The Departed’, fled Boston in 1994 after his FBI handler warned him he was about to be killed. be charged. Bulger spent 16 years as a fugitive before being arrested. He was convicted in 2013 of participating in 11 murders.

Federal authorities developed a “meaningful pause” in Watson’s case in 2009, but not enough to secure an indictment, the district attorney said. But new information has emerged over the past year that led to Lewis’s indictment on Friday.

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