The remains of a man believed to have been killed 25 years ago after allegedly besting South Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger in a barroom brawl were unearthed yesterday along the banks of the Neponset River in Quincy, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
The sources said investigators will continue to search the site, about 100 yards from a condominium where Bulger lived during the 1980s, looking for the remains of a girlfriend of Bulger's longtime sidekick, Stephen Flemmi.
Acting on information provided over the past year by Bulger's former deputy, Kevin Weeks, investigators have found five bodies at three burial sites within a mile of each other in Dorchester and Quincy, sources said.
US Attorney Donald K. Stern announced yesterday that the remains of a man had been unearthed after four days of painstaking digging, and that investigators would continue to search the site for a second murder victim. He said he wouldn't name the victims until they were identified.
But sources say Weeks, who cut a deal with authorities after his indictment in November on federal racketeering charges, told investigators that Thomas King and Debra Davis were buried underneath the MBTA's Red Line bridge at the river's edge.
Davis was 26 when she disappeared on Sept. 17, 1981, after planning to end her nine-year romance with Flemmi because she fell in love with another man.
King, a longshoreman and member of Southie's Mullins Gang, disappeared in November 1975, just days after reputed South Boston gangster Francis "Buddy" Leonard was found shot to death in King's car.
Bulger and King got into a heated argument at Triple O's bar in South Boston after Leonard's body was discovered on Nov. 6, 1975, according to sources.
"He had Whitey on the floor by the neck, choking him to death, and Stevie [Flemmi] talked him out of it and that was his mistake," said a source.
Last October, John Martorano, a confessed hit man turned government witness, pleaded guilty to killing King and implicated Flemmi in the slaying. Martorano wasn't able to lead authorities to King's grave because he didn't know where he was buried, according to sources.
A childhood friend of King's from South Boston said, "He was born tough, but he was a good father to his daughter. If he was involved in any organized crime stuff, he never brought it around the neighborhood. He won a fight, but the loser came back after him."
Weeks apparently knew where King and five more alleged victims of Bulger and Flemmi were buried.
Acting on information provided by Weeks, investigators unearthed remains at Tenean Beach in Dorchester last week believed to be those of Paul "Paulie" McGonagle, a Bulger rival who disappeared on Nov. 20, 1974. The state medical examiner's office is conducting tests to identify the victim.
In January, Weeks led investigators to a gravesite across from Florian Hall in Dorchester, where they discovered the remains of Arthur "Bucky" Barrett and John McIntyre, both of Quincy, and Deborah Hussey, the daughter of Flemmi's longtime live-in companion, Marion Hussey.
Barrett, an accused bank burglar, was murdered in July 1983; John McIntyre, who implicated Bulger in a plot to smuggle guns to the Irish Republican Army, was killed in November 1984, and Hussey, who had a sexual relationship with Flemmi, was slain in early 1985.
Weeks told investigators that he helped Bulger and Flemmi exhume their bodies in October 1985 and rebury them in the Dorchester grave, according to court records.
Stern refused to comment yesterday on whether investigators believe the bodies buried in Quincy had been moved there from somewhere else.
Investigators from the State Police, the US Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service will resume digging today, Stern said.
Meanwhile, State Police divers have been searching an area at Marina Bay in Quincy for several weeks, looking for evidence that isn't related to the search for bodies in Quincy, but is part of the overall investigation of Bulger and Flemmi, officials said.
The discovery of the bodies is expected to lead to sweeping new charges against Bulger, who has been a fugitive since his January 1995 indictment on federal racketeering charges, and Flemmi, who is jailed while awaiting trial.
While Bulger and Flemmi are suspected in the murders of several other victims who are missing, Stern said investigators are unaware of any other burial sites.