South Boston

Police Make Arrest in 1984 South Boston Homicide

Michael Lewis is accused in the death of Brian Watson in July 1984, when Lewis was 24 and Watson was 23


A 61-year-old man has been indicted on a murder charge in the 1984 shooting death of a man in South Boston, a crime investigators believe may have had ties to the criminal activities of the infamous James "Whitey" Bulger.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said that Michael Lewis is accused in the death of Brian Watson in July 1984, when Lewis was 24 and Watson was 23. Lewis was indicted by a grand jury Friday on a first-degree murder charge.



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Prosecutors believe the killing stemmed from a drug-dealing dispute. Investigators allege that Lewis and another man were both involved in the Southie drug trade and were looking for another drug dealer in the area. The second man, who the DA did not identify, was allegedly angry with the dealer, who had reported his drug-dealing activities to Bulger and his associate Kevin Weeks. Bulger, who was a well-known crime boss in the area during that time period, was demanding money from the man for dealing angel dust in the area.

According to prosecutors, Lewis and his associate found Watson and asked him to bring them to the dealer. When Watson agreed and got in their car, Lewis shot him. His body was dumped off I-93 South in Manchester, New Hampshire. He would be reported missing by his mother in the coming days, but his body was not found until September 1984.

New Hampshire State Police, Manchester Police and Boston Police, as well as the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, United States Attorney’s Office and New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office would all be involved in the 37-year investigation into Watson's death. Prosecutors said new information that came out in 2009 and again this year led investigators with enough evidence to see the indictment.

“This was a true team effort to help indict and charge a homicide that hearkens back to a very different Boston. Brian Watson was a young father cut down seemingly on a whim.  A remarkably cold-blooded whim.  Mr. Watson’s family has endured many, many years of loss and heartache.  At the very least, they now have some answers,” District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in a statement.

Lewis is set to be arraigned Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court. It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney.

More details on the case, including the evidence that led to an arrest decades after the crime, were not immediately released.

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