Boston arrest made in 1984 cold case linked to Bulger

The suspect pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder

MARK PRATT, Associated Press

BOSTON — The suspect in a nearly four-decade-old killing in South Boston that authorities have linked to notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and his iron-fisted control of the neighborhood’s drug trade was held without bail on Tuesday.
Michael Lewis, 61, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder at his arraignment 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 he disappeared.
Lewis “adamantly denies the allegations and looks forward to his day in court,” defense attorney James Sultan said.
The slaying took place when Bulger, who was killed in a federal prison in West Virginia in 2018, terrorized the neighborhood. Although neither the suspect nor the victim had a direct link to Bulger, his influence played a role, Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said after the arraignment.
“We had a glimpse in the courtroom today of a very different Boston, a Boston that we can never allow to happen again,” Hayden said. “After nearly 40 years we are reminded of the mayhem and murder inflicted by cold-hearted and corrupt, cruel men.”
Watson, 23, was last seen alive on July 16 or 17, 1984, and was reported missing by his mother on July 28 that year, authorities said. His body was found hidden among the trees and bushes by a motorist who had pulled over on Interstate 93 in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Sept. 16, 1984.

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