Michael Lewis Trial Set to Begin Today, 38 Years After the Killing of Brian Watson

Michael Lewis, 61, was arrested on the May 20th for the murder of Brian Watson, a South Boston man whose body was found on the side of Interstate 93 in Manchester, New Hampshire in 1984. 

Watson, age 23, was last seen alive between July 16 or 17, before being picked up in a car by Lewis and another man, who prosecutors did not identify. Watson’s body was later found hidden among the trees and bushes by a couple that pulled over on the Interstate. His body was identified through dental records after his mother reported him missing on July 28, 1984.

K and first street South Boston

According to prosecutors, notorious gangster James “Whitey” Bulger had caught wind that the defendant and his unidentified partner were selling drugs in the Southie area and ordered that they start paying him dues. Live Boston recovered files in the BPD homicide unit claiming Watson was also dealing what was referred to as ‘angel dust’ pcp, in the South Boston area. There is yet to be any clarification as to how Whitey found out about Lewis and his partner’s activities.

Watson was picked up by Lewis and his partner in a rented car under the assumption that he was going to help them find however snitched on them to Bulger. But as they were driving, prosecutors allege Lewis turned around to the back seat of the car and shot Watson multiple times, ultimately killing him.

This leads us to believe that Lewis and the unknown man were under the impression that Watson had revealed to Whitey Bulger the nature of their activities. This is one of the many fatal entanglements during Whitey Bulger’s time, before he was capture in 2011 and convicted of a string of murders from the 1970s and 80s. According to prosecutors, Lewis and his partner didn’t have enough money for a toll and decided to dump the body on the side of 93 just beyond the tree line in south Manchester.

For 37 years this case went cold, but new information has resurfaced that put Michael Lewis as a lead suspect. Earlier this year, two witnesses came forward and informed investigators that on numerous occasions after the incident the defendant had spoken openly about it. Later on, evidence was gathered that corroborated the story and a witness protection order was granted for the two witnesses and a drug dealer.

Lewis, who faces first-degree murder charges in the Suffolk Superior Court, pleaded not guilty and was held without bail during a clerk magistrate’s hearing held in Suffolk Superior Court. He is being defended by attorney James L. Sultan from Rankin and Sultan who had no comment when we reached out to speak with him. The first trial hearing date is being held today.