A convicted felon whose name has repeatedly been mentioned as an accomplice to murder in the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger will be featured in a reality TV show on the Discovery Channel, outraging the family of at least one of Bulger’s alleged victims.
On Friday, the family of Michael Donahue, allegedly gunned down by Bulger, learned that an unidentified man involved in Donahue’s death may have been Patrick Nee of South Boston, according to testimony from Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.
“I’m absolutely disgusted,” said Tommy Donahue, who has been searching for years for the identity of the accomplice in his father’s murder.
The show that will feature Nee, called “Saint Hoods,” is a dramatization of bookies in Boston, according to the channel.
Though Nee’s name has been mentioned throughout Bulger’s trial in connection with at least five killings, he has not been charged in any of them.
“His name has been thrown around a dozen times, and the government hasn’t done anything about it,” Donahue said.
Donahue said he planned to contact the Discovery Channel to protest the show.
A Discovery Channel spokesman said Tuesday that an executive producer for the show was on an airplane and was not available for comment.
In a recent press release, Discovery said that “Saint Hoods” is set to air Aug. 2 and will “showcase” three of Boston’s underworld crews, from Roslindale, Dorchester, and South Boston, and will document “a society that exits under the radar.” The three crews engage in bookmaking, and claim to offer loans, move merchandise, and solve neighborhood problems “on their own terms.”
The release states that, “Southie, the largest and most powerful crew in Boston, is run by the notorious Pat Nee, famed for his battles with gangster Whitey Bulger.”
Nee and Bulger had been rivals, and Nee tried multiple times to kill Bulger. The two later became associates.
Throughout Bulger’s trial in US District Court in Boston, witnesses have testified that Nee was involved in guns, drug dealing, and murder.
On Friday, Flemmi, Bulger’s former partner, testified that Nee helped move the bodies of Tommy King and Debra Davis and had lured John McIntyre to a South Boston home where Bulger shot him.
And Flemmi said that he had a conversation with Bulger, Nee, and some of their associates the day after Bulger gunned down suspected FBI informant Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue, an innocent bystander who was giving Halloran a ride home.
Kevin Weeks, Bulger’s former protégé, has testified that he served as lookout to that shooting, and that while he did not know who the second shooter was, it could have been Nee.
Nee was not charged in the racketeering case against Bulger, Flemmi, Weeks, and some of their other associates.
Federal prosecutors have said that when Bulger was first charged with racketeering conspiracy in 1995, there was no federal racketeering act that could be brought against Nee under the statute of limitations. He had already been in jail for several years before the case was filed.
Nee was convicted of gun smuggling in the failed 1984 attempt to smuggle seven tons of weapons to the Irish Republican Army, and spent two years in prison. In 2000, he was released from prison after serving nine years for a 1991 attempted armored car heist.
State investigators could pursue murder charges against Nee, which are not governed by a statute of limitations.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, said Tuesday, “We’re always looking for ways to investigate and prosecute murder in Suffolk County, but we have to defer comment while this federal trial is unfolding before the jury.”
Relatives of Bulger’s alleged victims said they were surprised by news of the reality TV show.
“You hear his name through everybody brought up on the stand,” said Steven Davis, the brother of Debra Davis. “I couldn’t see him go on some reality TV show, after all this.”Milton J. Valencia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.