Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Early Years: Peace Comes To South Boston: Part Nine

A Bridge From
South Boston

1971 ended with the dispute between the Killeens and Mullens still ongoing with little outward manifestation of its existence. This state, or stalemate, continued until May 13, 1972, when Donald Killeen was murdered outside his home in Framingham.

Pat Nee said it was done by Jimmy Mantville and Tommy King who waited all night outside Donald’s house  until he came out at 6:15 in the morning. When he opened his car door they came out of a culvert and raced up to him. Donald tried to reach for a gun he had in the glove compartment of the car but it was too late, they filled him with bullet holes. The gun was found under Donald Killeen’s body.

Nee tells his stories of the violence in such a way to make sure he distances himself from knowing too much about a murder. He does it so that no one will think he may have been involved in it as some have alleged. He makes an obvious error in telling a story. In his story of the murder of Billy O’Sullivan he had a one-on-one confrontation despite witnesses stating three people chased after O’Sullivan. The same happened with the Donald Killeen murder. No one waited all night nor was he killed at 6:15 or so in the morning. The murder occurred around 9:30 that night according to the Framingham police as set out in newspaper reports.

After Donald’s murder a newspaper article had Boston Police Deputy Superintendent Joseph Jordan saying that for more than two years Donald “has been on the hit list all that time and he knew it.” Jordan went on to say Donald was the seventh or eight victim of the three-year old feud. I’ve noted as best I can tell he is the third.

The article said the police and the underworld called this the “Mullins gang feud” and that it started “because of remarks a member of one South Boston group apparently made to a woman friend of a member of another group in a South Boston bar” mimicking the reason given for the big Irish gang war between McLean’s Somerville group and the Charlestown McLaughlins. Unfortunately most of these gang battles are surrounded more by fiction than fact which is only limited by the imagination of the author or story-teller.

The summer of 1972 passed uneventfully. The warriors probably moved out of the confines of Southie and headed to Cape Cod or the New Hampshire lakes putting distance between themselves which they couldn’t do on their home turf. Then in early September 1972 two men fired a shotgun blast at Kenny Killeen who was sitting on the front porch of his South Boston house on Marine Road.

That had the hoped for results. Dave Farrell known for his FBI connections writing in the Boston Globe reported on October 5, 1972, that “Kenneth Killeen, brother of the slain bookie Donald Killeen, has sent out word he wants out of the gambling business.” Farrell wrote that after Donald Killeen was killed Gerry Angiulo and others from the North End Mafia “prevailed on the two sides to halt the senseless killings.”

The Killeens departure left Whitey and his small group in control of the Southie rackets. Whitey could look at the murder of O’Sullivan as revenge for the killing of Donald McGonagle but the murder of Donald Killeen coupled with the shooting of Kenneth Killeen made it clear the Mullens were a determined, dangerous and capable force of younger guys intent on taking over the Southie rackets.

The suggestions that outside parties were attempting to broker a peace seemed unlikely. Southie had always taken care of its own problems. What happens in Southie stays in Southie. The criminal operations of Gerry Angiulo’s North End Mafia group nor Howie Winter’s Somerville gang were affected by what happened there. It could be argued that they benefited from it because the cops began to focus on Southie.

The two Southie gangs recognized their choice was to go on with the uncertainty with the attendant killings or to attempt some kind of truce. Whitey knew it was not good for business if he couldn’t move about his own territory without fear of being hit. The Mullens also got tired of looking over their shoulders.

Pat Nee wrote that he reached out for Howie Winter to help restore peace between the groups. Winter told him he had just received a call from Gerry Angiulo who said Whitey asked Joe Russo, a Mafia leader, for his help in bringing about the truce. Other stories have Larry Baione, the enforcer for the North End Mafia, and a friend of Murderman Martorano as being involved.

Wherever the truth lies it seems clear there was a sit down between the warring parties. In order for it to come about each side had to be guaranteed it would not be walking into a trap and there would be no violence from the other side. The only way that could be done by having the North End or Howie Winter, larger gangster groups, guaranteeing the safety of each side.

In the fall of 1972 a meeting was arranged between the two sides for a sit down at Chandler’s Restaurant a hangout for gangsters. This was owned by Howie Winter and the Martoranos. It was in the South End, neutral territory.

Whitey represented the Killeens; Pat Nee and Tommy King the Mullins.  The conference succeeded. The Killeen and Mullen deadly dust-up was over. Whitey and the Mullens would split all the proceeds from the illegal gambling activities and other criminal activities in South Boston and stay alive for somewhat longer.




    greetings and a great new year for you and yours . perhaps you could go over 2 names at some point in your blog. one would be longtime boston globe and former cbs employee will mcdonough and longtime globe columnist mike barnicle. i bring them up because after so many years of reading them i find out will was billy bulgers first campaighn mgr and visited whitey in levenworth prison in kansas in the 1960s. i find that very intersesting and i wonder what you think of will and his friedship with the bulger brothers. i know what howie carr thinks of mike barnicle. what do you think of mike barnicle? by that i mean he put in print many times whitey keeps the drugs out of southie etc etc. this may be off topic but so many things i have wondered have been answered on this blog and i thank you for it. now every time i look at a nonfiction book i look at the footnotes also. thanks for that regards,

    • maguiredoug
      I thought I had replied to you but don’t see it went through. Will McDonough knew Billy from South Boston. They were good friends. He was a well respected sports writer with a national audience. Worked at the Boston Globe. Howie Carr hats the Boston Globe (apparently he couldn’t get a job there) and makes money off of defaming Bulger. He makes much about McDonough visiting Whitey in prison. The Whitey in prison was not the murderer he is suspected of being today. He was a bank robber. Noting wrong with visiting people in prison, in fact it is a good idea to support your friends and hope you can make a positive contribution to the prisoner turning things around after he or she gets out. Since I’m of the school that Billy Bulger is being unfairly treated simply because of his relationship to Whitey, I see nothing wrong with McDonough’s association with him.
      Mike Barnicle is a very smart, street wise, man. I always enjoyed his columns in the Globe. Howie Carr despised him because he worked for the Globe and had so much more talent than he had. If you listen to Howie Carr you’ll see he is the prototypical begrudger feeling a personal insult if anyone he doesn’t likes succeeds and will do his utmost to tear him down. It was a commonly held belief at one time that Whitey kept drugs out of Southie. That it turned out to be totally wrong when evidence comes out later, does not mean the person who held the belief before it was shown to be wrong did something wrong.
      I try to suggest that when we examine the behavior of people we don’t look at what we know now and judge the person’s past actions but we look at what the person knew or should have known at the time the person made the decision. Barnicle appears on TV now on a show Morning Joe. He always has good insights. It kills Howie, the man who would be king, to see that and to find himself still stuck on a local AM station and still at the Herald.
      I’m rereading Howie’s first book and comparing it to the second. He makes lots of allegations in the first book that he contradicts in the second after he has more information. I don’t think he deliberately lied in the first book but that he used the information available to him and came to a faulty conclusion which he probably should not have written as factual. That just supports my suggestion that we can often be wrong in our opinions at an earlier date when more evidence comes out at a later time. If Whitey had been in prison for murdering 19 people and Will McDonough was visiting him, or if Barnicle wrote today that Whitey kept drugs out of South Boston, I might smell a rat That they did it in another era, I make nothing of it but I do recognize both men had immense talent and that Howie Carr would give up his Cadillac, low number plate, and probably the spouse and kids to have half their talent.