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Man indicted for South Boston murder - in 1984, in anger over extortion payments demanded by Whitey Bulger, DA says

A Suffolk County grand jury today Michael Lewis, now 61, for the July, 1984, murder of Brian Watson, whose body was found by the side of I-93 in Manchester NH after he'd been shot to death in South Boston, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

According to the DA's office, Lewis, then 24, and a pal were very angry that month because a drug dealer had told Whitey Bulger and Bulger enforcer Kevin Weeks that the pal was selling angel dust in South Boston without Bulger's permission - and Bulger pressed the pal for $5,000 immediately and $1,000 a week for the right to keep selling the drug. So the two, both themselves involved in drug sales, set off with a gun driving around South Boston, looking for the drug dealer to make him see the wisdom of leaving town. Instead, prosecutors say, the two found Watson, who knew the drug dealer and who, whether willingly or not - the DA did not say - agreed to lead them to the dealer.

Watson entered the vehicle and sat in the back seat.

While the three men drove around South Boston, Lewis suddenly turned, shot and killed Watson. The two then drove into New Hampshire and dumped Watson’s body off I-93 South in Manchester.

On September 16, 1984, a man who had pulled over on I-93 South in Manchester discovered a decomposed body, obscured by bushes and trees, about 40 feet from the road. The man called 911. Manchester Police and New Hampshire State Police responded. The body was eventually identified as Brian Watson through dental records.

And then, the investigation stalled:

A lengthy investigation by New Hampshire State Police, Manchester Police and Boston Police ensued. Investigators made some headway but were unable to solve the case. Information developed through the US Attorney’s Office in Boston provided a significant break in the case in 2009, but still not enough to secure an indictment.

Further information developed by investigators this year provided sufficient evidence to move forward with Friday’s indictment of Lewis.

The DA's office did not specify what sort of information arose this year.

Lewis was arrested shortly after noon today at D Street and Orton Marotta Way in South Boston by BPD officers and US marshals, Boston Police report.

In a statement, acting DA Kevin Hayden thanked New Hampshire law-enforcement departments and agencies for their help:

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.

Innocent, etc.

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he really did keep the drugs out of Southie, unless he was being paid for the privilege of selling them.

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