William Murphy

Born in Dorchester into a Four Corners family, I grew up in Weymouth, the hometown of
George Jung the central figure in the Hollywood movie Blow. A political science major at
American University in Washington, D.C., during the years 1966 through 1970, I experienced
the national impact of the riots, assassinations, the war on crime, civil rights activities and
antiwar demonstrations firsthand. In December 1969 in the Draft Lottery, I received a moderate
draft number; in 1970, anticipating the draft, I enlisted in the Army Security Agency as a linguist
and served in Viet Nam until the last thirty days of the war, leaving Viet Nam February 26, 1973.
During a twenty-five year career as a Special Agent by the United States Treasury Department’s
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, I participated in many high profile, nationally
reported, historic cases. I worked undercover for one year in the Combat Zone, Boston’s red
light district. In 1980 I solved a homicide in Boston’s Chinatown which became a pivotal event
in the Federal prosecution of James J. “Whitey” Bulger documented in Chapter 10 of Whitey
Bulger by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe. I was a member of the Boston
Arson Task Force where I was instrumental in solving the largest arson case in United States
history, the subject of books Burn Boston Burn by Wayne Miller and Boston on Fire Chapter 9
by Stephanie Schorow. During the epidemic of violence in the early 1990’s, I brought to justice
the largest firearms trafficking case in Massachusetts history (five Dorchester co-defendants)
resulting in a dramatic reduction in the murder rate in Boston. For the last three years of my
career, I served full time on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. After retiring in 2001, I served
for nine years as an Intelligence Analyst for ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information
Network servicing the six New England states. In March 2011, in retirement, I provided
evidence to the FBI Violent Crime Task Force which arrested two suspects as they were robbing
a bank in Boston’s North Station; the suspects eventually pleaded guilty to four bank robberies in
Massachusetts and one twenty-seven year old cold case murder in Oakland, California. From the
day after my retirement, I have tended bar for a number of high-end caterers serving the rich and
famous in Boston including glitterati on Beacon Hill, the World Champion New England
Patriots, and the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport. Since 2005, I have worked pro bono for
the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on the investigation into the largest property crime in
United States history and the largest art theft in world history, commonly called The Gardner
Heist. For two years I mentored inmates at the Norfolk County Jail under the auspices of the
Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). In April through August 2018, I participated in a
roundtable retrospective on the Year 1968 which was an award winning four-part series in the
Quincy Patriot Ledger newspaper ( 50 years ago, a reckoning in Vietnam – News – The Patriot Ledger,
Quincy, MA – Quincy, MA.) I am active in the UMass Boston Joiner Center for the Study of War
and Social Consequences and through the Joiner Center learned of the Clemente Veterans
Initiative with which I have taken courses in Dorchester (2), Seattle (2), and Springfield – in
person and virtually.