May 28—Prosecutors in Boston announced charges on Friday in a cold case — the murder of Brian Watson, a South Boston man whose body was found on the side of Interstate 93 in Manchester in 1984.
According to a news release from the Suffolk County, Mass., District Attorney's Office, prosecutors believe Watson was shot by another South Boston man named Michael Lewis, now 61, who was 24 when he allegedly shot Watson.
Lewis was arrested in South Boston on Friday just after noon, after a grand jury indicted him for first-degree murder.
"Brian Watson was a young father cut down seemingly on a whim," said Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden. "Mr. Watson's family has endured many, many years of loss and heartache. At the very least, they now have some answers."
Watson was last seen alive when he was 23, on July 16 or 17, 1984, when prosecutors say Lewis and another man — who prosecutors did not identify — picked him up in a car.
Lewis, then 24, and the unnamed man were driving around the neighborhood trying to find a drug dealer, according to prosecutors.
According to prosecutors, the drug dealer had told notorious gangster James "Whitey" Bulger that the unnamed man was selling drugs too, and prosecutors claim Bulger had demanded thousands of dollars from the unnamed man.
The unnamed man and Lewis picked up Watson and asked him to take them to the drug dealer, prosecutors said. But as they were driving, prosecutors allege Lewis turned around to the back seat of the car, and shot and killed Watson.
The two drove to New Hampshire, prosecutors claim, and dumped Watson's body on the southbound side of Interstate 93 in Manchester, just north of the Londonderry town line.
Watson's body was found two months later, on Sept. 16, 1984. His body was decomposed, and he was identified by dental records, according to prosecutors. An autopsy determined he had been shot to death.
For years, the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has listed Watson among the state's "cold cases."
Prosecutors said the investigation had years of fits and starts. According to the news release, federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts made a "significant break" in the case in 2009, but did not have the evidence necessary for local prosecutors to indict Lewis.
"Further information developed by investigators this year provided sufficient evidence to move forward with Friday's indictment of Lewis," read a statement from the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.