For more than 25 years, the Boston neighborhood known as "Southie" was said to be ruled by James "Whitey" Bulger, the head of a violent and often deadly Irish mob. He is charged with committing 20 murders and suspected in at least 20 more. But despite an international manhunt, the mob leader has been a fugitive for more than 10 years.
If anyone has a clue where he is, you would expect it to be Kevin Weeks. For 20 years, Weeks was Bulger's right-hand man — and the last person known to have seen him in the United States.
But six years ago, Weeks turned on his boss, becoming one of the most important witnesses ever against organized crime.
Weeks, who has written his story in a book called "Brutal," talked to 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley.
Kevin Weeks is a soft-spoken, 49-year-old native of South Boston. But don't be fooled by the low-key, matter-of-fact way he answers questions about his life of crime.
Weeks readily admits he has committed a laundry list of crimes, including beating up people, shooting and stabbing people, helping kidnap people and being an accessory to murder. It's quite a resume.
"It's the business we were in," Weeks tells Bradley.
The business they were in was organized crime. But what set Whitey Bulger's organization apart was its penchant for violence. Weeks says it was all part of the folklore of this Irish, working-class neighborhood known as "Southie."
Growing up in Southie, Kevin says, you had to fight. "You didn't have to win, but you had to fight," he says.
On these streets, Bulger was a known as a vicious gangster who never hesitated to use violence. Weeks, who had a reputation as a tenacious street fighter, caught the crime boss's eye while he was working as a bouncer at a local bar. Over the years, he became Bulger's most trusted confidante.
Asked what his job was working for Bulger, Weeks says, "Anything he asked me to do."
Weeks joined The Early Show on Wednesday to talk more about his life of crime. He told co-anchor Harry Smith, "I grew up in a tough neighborhood and I guess I was attracted to the criminal element."
Asked by Smith whether he feels remorse for his violence, Weeks said, "It's something I live with and I can't change the past. So I don't dwell on it. I just try to move on."
And as to whether Bulger will ever be found and prosecuted, Weeks says he doesn't think it will happen. "He's probably over in Europe somewhere under an alias, and I think when he dies of natural causes, because I don't think they'll ever find him, that he'll be buried under that name."
Weeks writes in his memoir about a murder plot against a reporter for the Boston Herald, and what ultimately prevented him from pulling the trigger. "He came walking out of the house with his daughter, a little girl, like seven years old or so. They were headed towards a silver Volvo, he had her by the hand. I couldn't take a chance of the bullet fragmenting and ricocheting or hitting her or just killing her father in front of her. It would have been a traumatic experience for her so we passed on it."
To read an excerpt from "Brutal," click here.