That sets the stage for determining whether Whitey was involved in three of the murders charged against him. These are the murders of the Mullen members which occurred between November 1974 and November 1975. Although Pat Nee may have been involved in them he probably did not have the ability to carry them out by himself. By that I mean he may not have had the nerve to be the one to pull a gun on a friend and murder him. We know he was capable of killing someone he did not like but murdering a friend is on a different scale.
Putting Whitey into the mix makes sense although you will note that in the murder of McGonagle and King he was not the one who did the shooting. Whitey too, like Nee, did not have the cojones to murder someone he was close with face to face unlike Martorano or Flemmi. Of all the murders attributed to him, even by the government’s evidence, he actually fired a gun at five people: Eddie Connors, Brian Halloran, Bucky Barrett, and John McIntyre. Michael Donohue was shot but was not a target. He probably did not murder McIntyre so the only one murdered with a handgun may have been Bucky Barrett but given Flemmi’s presence at that murder it may have been him who did the murder.
Whitey would have had the motive to kill the Mullens. Paulie McGonagle was a big threat to him. Tommy King was also as tough as Whitey and if he could eliminate him he would feel safer. He also knew that he had to murder King’s friend Buddy Leonard to be safe. I put these three murders onto Whitey as having a part of them. The jury rightfully convicted him of killing McGonagle and King. The jury was also right in finding that the prosecutor failed to prove Whitey murdered Francis “Buddy” Leonard. Who murdered him will never be known. The circumstances have never been revealed. Pat Nee might know but he has distanced himself from that murder as he has done from others because there is no statute of limitations on murder. All that protects him is the deal Kevin Weeks made with the prosecutors that he would not have to testify against him. Weeks would not know about the Leonard murder.
Although we do not know exactly how the Leonard murder went down it seems to me fairly certain that Whitey had a hand in it. Eliminating McGonagle, King and Leonard with the help and concurrence of Nee made it safe for Whitey in Southie again. Three capable men bit the dust.
Author English is although totally wrong in telling us that Whitey rose above the fray because of his connections to his brother Bill and FBI Agent John Connolly back in 1974 and 1975, he is right that it was through a connection that Whitey was able to pull off these murders. That connection was the guy he met with in 1974 and eventually who would become Whitey’s partner, if not his boss: Steve Flemmi.
Flemmi a long time FBI informant had run from a murder charge and another one involving setting off an explosive on a lawyer’s car. The FBI fixed the cases so that he could return to Boston to again provide information to it. When he came back in the spring of 1974 he went back to the guys from the Roxbury Gang the Martoranos. They introduced him to Winter Hill. There he and Whitey me and became close compadres having similar tastes in staying in shape, avoiding drugs and alcohol, women and money.
It is only through the influence of Flemmi that Bulger becomes a murderer. Flemmi in his twenties was routinely murdering people; Bulger does not do it until he is in his forties. With Flemmin in the background Whitey finally joins the murderers club. McGonagle may have been his first; if not his first then clearly his second at the age of forty-four. Hardly the resume of a hard boiled murderer.