It wasn't any one thing. Whitey told the Winter Hill crew that King had to go because he had said something inappropriate to a little girl. He told the Mullens that King's threatening Eddie Walsh was going to get them all locked up. Even Howie Winter, who liked King, agreed that threatening a cop was stupid and bound to bring heat. And, in the back of Whitey's mind, there was that clenched fist in the back of Triple O's.
Whitey pulled up outside of the Mullens club one afternoon and King walked over. "We need you," Whitey said. "We're looking for Suitcase. We'll be back in a couple of hours. Be at the nursing home."
It would be entirely plausible that they were going to kill Alan "Suitcase" Fidler, a rival gangster. But in fact they weren't hunting Suitcase. It was a ruse, an excuse to get King in the car. A couple of hours later, when Whitey pulled into the parking lot in back of a nursing home on Columbia Road, King willingly hopped in the front passenger seat.
Johnny Martorano was in the back, directly behind King. Sitting with your back to Martorano, anytime, anywhere, was dangerous, but King sensed nothing. Flemmi was driving a backup car and nodded to King. Whitey took some guns and walkie-talkies out of a duWel bag and handed them out. The gun Whitey handed King was loaded with blanks. As Whitey drove down Day Boulevard, past Carson Beach, King started talking excitedly.
"Where we lookin'?" King asked.
"Everywhere," Whitey replied. "We'll head over to Savin Hill first."
"If we can't find Suitcase, we can always test this out," King said, rapping his knuckles on the bulletproof vest he was wearing.
Whitey smirked, and Martorano leaned forward and put the muzzle of his gun a few inches from the back of King's skull and fired. He then reached from behind, grabbed King's shoulders, and slid him over, so that King's right shoulder was propped against the door. He placed a baseball cap on King's head and tilted the visor down a bit. It looked like King was sleeping.
Whitey slowed, about to make a U-turn at the causeway that heads out to Squantum, an isolated part of Quincy, but Martorano asked him to pull into the Dunkin' Donuts on the other side of the road. "I've got to check a race," Martorano said, as if leaving a dead body in the front seat of a car while he made a call from the phone booth outside the Dunkin' Donuts was the most normal thing in the world.
"Hurry up," Whitey called after him, throwing the car into park.
They buried Tommy King not far from the Dunkin' Donuts, in the tidal banks of the Neponset River.
FBI Agent John Connolly
Later that night, Whitey went looking for and found Buddy Leonard, another Mullens gang member. Leonard might have taken revenge for King's murder, and Whitey wasn't going to give him a chance. But Leonard's murder was more than a preemptive strike. It was also a diversion. After the shooting, Whitey told John Connolly, his FBI handler, that Tommy King had killed Buddy Leonard.