Brass balls and cold steel

By MIKE MILIARD  |  April 5, 2006

Bulger had other ideas. He asked Nee to bring McIntyre to a house in Southie (one owned by Nee’s brother). Nee did so, he says, believing they were simply going to discuss plans to send McIntyre away to Spain for a while, to lie low.

Nee went out for a while after dropping off McIntyre, and upon his return he saw that things had gone badly wrong. “I went down to the cellar,” Nee says. “He was dead. Stevie was pulling his teeth out.” When Bulger asked Nee to dig a hole in the floor, he says he had no choice but to comply. “Whitey and Stevie were armed. I wasn’t armed. It was not any time to object to what they were doing.”

In a deposition last year, Steven Flemmi implicated Nee in another murder, fingering him as the unidentified gunman who helped Bulger kill Edward “Brian” Halloran and Michael Donahue in a car on South Boston’s waterfront. Nee says it’s not true. “No. No. Stevie’s been implicating a lot of people in a lot of things lately. I’m not sure why — if it’s just pure evil, or if he feels abandoned, because he has no chance of getting out no matter what he does.” Nee pauses for a second. “Did I shoot people? Yeah. I did.”

He’s referring, ostensibly, to the time in 1969 when, after two tours in Vietnam, Nee’s brother Peter came home to Southie and, two months later, at age 22, was shot and killed in a bar fight. Immediately, Nee set about stalking his brother’s killer. Months later, when the time was right, he didn’t hesitate. He shot the guy twice, he writes, and then “I squeezed out two more shots, one above the heart and one below. His midsection drilled to the pavement with the impact of the bullets.”

Says Nee now: “I had no qualms about shooting him. None whatsoever. It was a good feeling to shoot him. And kick him. I thought he was dead. When I left, I felt very good.” But the guy lived. And when he took the witness stand in court, he claimed — perhaps intuiting that a swift reprisal awaited him on the outside — not to be able to identify Nee definitively as the assailant.

Pat Nee was released from prison in 2000. (Following 18 months in jail in the mid ’80s for his role in the Valhalla shipment, he also served nine years for a subsequent armored-car heist.) Like Shea, he’s got a construction job now. He takes the bus to work. Does the criminal life have any appeal at all anymore? “No. Two things stop you, I think. It’s the amount of time you’ve done — you don’t want to do any more. And age is a factor. As you get older, you slow down. I don’t have any jail time left in me. If I go back to jail now, it’s a death sentence. These days, work is a lot better. I sleep a lot better.”

And things are different these days anyway. At South Boston’s 105th annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade two Sundays ago, people watched the festivities from the roofs of high-priced condos. On the sidewalk, an African-American woman painted a shamrock on an Irish-American girl’s cheek. Yuppies in fleece jackets with plastic keg cups hollered and cheered.

Whitey Bulger was nowhere to be seen.

“It’s not my Southie anymore,” says Pat Nee. “But things change. Progress comes.”

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Related: How gay is Southie?, Whitey's Southie: A tour of Bulger's haunts, BOOK EXCERPT: Just Don't Clip Anyone: First days as an informant, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Criminal Sentencing and Punishment, Crime, Henry Hill,  More more >
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