Edward "Punchy" McLaughlin (died October 20, 1965) was a former boxer and a member of the "The McLaughlin Brothers" gang of Charlestown, Massachusetts. Vincent Teresa, former mobster described Edward in his biography "My Life in the Mafia" as, "Punchy was just as crazy as George... a legbreaker for the longshoreman's union. Punchy was a cuckoo and as hotheaded as they came. After his brother Bernard McLaughlin was murdered in October 1961 by their former friend, "Winter Hill Gang" leader James "Buddy" McLean (Punchy and his brothers had been known to perform hits for gangs all over New England, including the Winter Hill Gang), Punchy and brother George McLaughlin murdered Russell Nicholson who was rumored to be McLean's driver in the shooting. After surviving many assassination attempts, one where he lost a hand and another where he lost half his jaw, Punchy was on his way to Boston's Suffolk Superior Courthouse for his brother Georgie's murder trial, and was shot dead at the Spring Street Metropolitan Transit Authority Loop in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Brawl with Tommy Sullivan
Thomas Sullivan had resentment and anger towards the McLaughlin gang, and the gang leader George McLaughlin who had attempted to extort one of his close friends for money in early December 1957. This infuriated him to no end. Two weeks before he was murdered, he made the mistake of getting into a vicious bar room brawl with Edward McLaughlin. By mob associates it was considered a good battle because both McLaughlin and Sullivan were ex-professionals, but Sullivan had a more successful bout than McLaughlin and had been a main event celebrity fighter. The trouble arose from a heated argument that soon turned violent. Edward hit Sullivan from behind with a length of iron pipe, knocking him to the floor. Edward swung again but Tommy rolled out of the way and got to his feet, his face badly bloodied from the blindsided attack. One of Sullivan's punches during the fight tore McLaughlin's ear. The bar brawl was witnessed by many South End Bostoners including Joseph Barboza, his fellow friend, sparring partner and longshoreman. The fight played out in the barroom and then made its way out into the street. Edward, now badly beaten, finally gave up and rolled under a car parked in the street to get away. Tommy was relentless in his attack on the gangster, he lifted up one end of the car and propped one of the wheels up on the curb allowing him access to McLaughlin. After Edward McLaughlin was beaten, he held a great feeling of contempt and hatred for the former professional boxing celebrity. On December 24, 1957 Thomas was called to the side of a car that was idling in the street near his East Fifth Street home at 6:35 p.m. and was shot five times, killing him. It was originally believed that one of the gunman's shots mowed down Tommy in front of an old cemetery but Medical Examiner Dr. Richard Ford revealed that three shots had nearly torn off his head and two of the shots had lodged in his shoulder. During the initial murder investigation, homicide detectives became quickly convinced that his murder was connected with the Irish Mob wars between the McLaughlin Gang and the powerful Patriarca crime family. Two suspects, including Edward McLaughlin were brought in for questioning about the murder. One provided an airtight alibi clearing him of any suspicion in the murder while McLaughlin remained under suspicion. The case eventually went cold and no one was ever charged or convicted in the murder of Sullivan. Howie Carr states that Sullivan's killer was Harold Hannon. Hannon was later murdered in the ensuing Irish Mob wars.
The novel Whitey Bulger by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy claims Whitey Bulger's enforcer Stephen Flemmi committed the murder with a .38-caliber long barrel revolver.