Family of Massachusetts teen John McCabe searches for justice in 1969 murder

This tale fpreviously aired on Oct. 31, 2015. It was once up to date on June 22, 2024.

Produced by way of Judy Rybak and Peter Henderson

It took nearly each and every ounce of power left in his 85-year-old frame to get to the eyewitness be on one?s feet, however Invoice McCabe waited 43 years for this life and the beginning of this trial in January 2013.

Prosecutor: Excellent morning, Mr. McCabe … do you take note September twenty seventh 1969?

Invoice McCabe: Sure, sir. 

Prosecutor: How aging was once John at that life?

Invoice McCabe: He was once 15 years, six months and two weeks.

“I always visualized him as being a big shot somewhere. John Joseph McCabe. ‘My son, JJ,’ you know?” Evelyn McCabe informed “48 Hours” correspondent Richard Schlesinger. “But I never got to see any of those things.”

Within the fall of 1969, two males had simply landed at the moon, 1000’s had simply crashed at Woodstock and John McCabe, 15 years, 6 months and a couple of weeks aging, was once dwelling along with his community in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

“I think we have a right to be proud of him,” stated Invoice McCabe.

The McCabe family
The McCabe community in the summertime of 1969. It could be their utmost picture in combination.

Evelyn McCabe

John’s father, Invoice, was once an engineer. His mom, Evelyn, labored on the faculty library. His sisters, Roberta, who was once 6, and Debbie, who was once 17, take note a brother who was once at all times busy, doing what brothers do.

“It was pretty interesting. You open the closet door, and your closet’s filled with grasshoppers,” Debbie recalled with fun.

“I just remember his hands were always dirty, like, with oil or grease or a frog in his hand,” stated Roberta.

“He brought home a goose once too?” “48 Hours” correspondent Richard Schlesinger requested Evelyn.

“Oh yeah, Canadian goose, big sucka!” she exclaimed.

“It’s fun to watch you talk about this cause your eyes light up. I mean you have fond memories of those days,” Schlesinger commented to Evelyn.

“Oh yeah,” she answered.

Evelyn holds directly to any reminder of her son.

“I have John’s money,” Evelyn stated. “I — I can’t spend it.”

“And you’ve had it all these years?” Schlesinger requested.

“Yeah, 45 years,” stated Evelyn.

“Do you take it out a lot?”

“Every now — every now and then I — the smell’s gone off of it now,” she chuckled as she smelled the money in her hand. “I almost put it in the casket with him. And then I thought, ‘No, I’ll just keep it with me. And when I see him again, I’ll give it to him.'”

When she utmost noticed John on Sept. 26, 1969, Evelyn gave him permission to progress to a dance on the Knights of Columbus Corridor.

“Took a shower, scrubbed his hair, put his father’s aftershave on. He didn’t shave but he put his father’s aftershave on. Oh yeah, he got all spruced up,” Evelyn recalled.

“I let him go. I let him go out the door. I shouldn’t have,” she stated.

“Eleven o’clock, I started looking out the window,” Evelyn persisted. “That’s when the dance closes. He should be home by midnight. So I went down to the dance and checked the road, screaming out the window. John! John! …No John. … I started prayin’ at that point.”

The after life, police got here to the home and took Evelyn’s husband to the basement to speak.

“They didn’t want me to know anything,” she stated. “But I heard them.”

Evelyn were given on her knees and pressed her ear to a vent in the toilet.

“This is where I could hear everything that was going on down cellar,” she stated kneeling on the toilet ground as she did all the ones years in the past.

A policeman talks with some of the boys who discovered John McCabes’s frame.

The police had been telling her husband John’s frame was once found out by way of 3 younger youngsters chopping via a vacant accumulation within the neighboring gritty town of Lowell.

“I heard that he was tied up. And there was tape on his eyes, on his mouth. I heard a lot,” Evelyn informed Schlesinger. “I cried. I lay there and cried.”

A plenty investigation was once introduced by way of the Lowell, Tewksbury and Massachusetts Surrounding Police.

Gerry Leone was once the native D.A. who years then took at the case. These days he’s a spouse within the legislation company, Nixon Peabody.

“What evidence did they collect at the scene?” Schlesinger requested Leone.

The rope discovered on the crime scene

Middlesex County D.A.’s Administrative center

“The rope that was used to tie John up … Tape that was used to tape his eyes and mouth. All of his clothing and his shoes,” he answered. “There was forensic evidence, but it wasn’t really meaningful because you couldn’t tie it to anyone in particular.”

However the case appeared promising to start with. A eyewitness had noticed a automotive close the crime scene that evening.

“And I believe the way he had described it was a 1965 Chevy Impala, colored —  plum or maroon,” stated Leone.

Next any other tip led police to a schoolmate of John’s — 16-year-old Mike Ferreira, who says he slightly knew John.

“I probably seen him like a handful of times in my life. I didn’t really —  he wasn’t a friend,” stated Ferreira.

Ferreira and his good friend, Nancy Williams, had been puzzled as a result of they’d picked John up when he was once hitchhiking, on his solution to the dance.

“I picked him up and gave him a ride to the corner and I never saw him again,” stated Williams.

Ferreira informed police that age the dance was once beneath method, he left Williams and met up along with his highest good friend, Walter Shelley.

“Me, Walter and Bob Ryan took a ride to Lowell tryin’ to get some beer,” he stated.

They had been in Walter Shelley’s automotive. It was once maroon and it was once a 1965 Chevy Impala. Police searched it, however discovered negative proof.

Nonetheless, Walter Shelley was once now an individual of hobby. He was once introduced in for wondering and then polygraphed 5 occasions. The assessments confirmed he was once “lying in all vital areas of the questioning.”

“If you read the reports,” Leone defined, “now you start seeing Ferreira and Shelley, Shelley and Ferreira.”

Ferreira was once puzzled more than one occasions.

“I knew where they were goin’, I mean, I’m not totally stupid,” he stated.

However Ferreira wasn’t serving to himself. At one level age joyriding with some pals, he unexpectedly blurted out that he killed John.

“Yeah you know, I was 16. We were drinking’ jokin you know … ‘Yeah I did it.’ They knew I was jokin,” Ferreira stated. “I was a joker.”

Leone says police weren’t amused however there was once negative solution to corroborate what Ferreira stated.

“Without physical evidence, without a witness statement putting him at the scene … The Ferreira lead kept drying up,” stated Leone.

There have been dozens of alternative community the police investigated — alternative teenagers, native drug sellers and pedophiles. Detectives labored the case dry for 2 years. The entire future, Invoice McCabe labored on a file of his son’s date.

“I wasn’t tryin’ to be an author or anything like that. I —I was just lookin’ at ways to hold on to him … keep his memory,” he informed “48 Hours.”

Invoice McCabe additionally attempted to construct certain the police by no means forgot his son.

“I was always on the phone talking to the police. I’d be up in the middle of the night. She’d be saying, ‘what the hell are you doing up? Get back to bed,'” he stated.

In spite of Invoice’s endurance and the serious police struggle, there have been negative arrests.

“Shelley and Ferreira went into the service in 1970. So the following year, the two of them left the area,” stated Leone.

And the McCabe community was once left with none solutions … for many years.


With each and every passing season, John McCabe’s case grew chillier, however his mom stored asking probably the most painful questions on how he died.

“I tried to strangle myself just to visualize what it felt like,” Evelyn McCabe stated. “I wondered … ‘Did he call for me? What kind of a mother was I?’ I wasn’t there for him.”

For a future, Evelyn eager a park for John on the dinner desk. His absence was once a continuing presence in the home.

John liked to experience his motorcycle and rebuild engines — a budding engineer, like his father.

Evelyn McCabe

Thru all of it, Invoice McCabe persisted to write down John’s tale, age repeatedly pushing police for an finishing.

“You can’t just do something wrong and not have to pay for it…” he stated.

The case stalled for some 30 years, till November 2000, when Jack Ward, a youth good friend of John’s, made excellent on a a long time aging commitment to Invoice.

“He would say, ‘Jackie, have you heard anything about John?'” Ward stated. “‘You keep your eyes out and let me know.’ And I says, ‘If I ever hear anything, Mr. McCabe, you know, I’m gonna tell you.'”

Ward have been at a cookout at a space in Tewksbury, the place he bumped into a child from the aging community, Mike Ferreira.

“We’re all sitting around drinking and that’s when he just blurted out…” Ward stated. “‘I know who killed John.’ And he said it to me again. … ‘I know who killed John.’ And, you know, finally I said, ‘Who?’ He says, ‘Walter.’ I said, ‘Walter Shelley?’ He says, ‘Yeah.'”

“And I said, ‘what would be Walter’s motive to kill John?’ He said, ‘Marla … because of Marla,” stated Ward.

Ward stated Marla Shiner was once Walter Shelley’s female friend again upcoming. However he stated the difficulty was once that Shiner additionally perceived to like John McCabe, and by way of all accounts, Walter Shelley was once one very jealous younger guy.

Ward admits he sat at the data for a age, frightened about easy methods to inform Invoice McCabe.

“You go knockin’ on somebody’s door and say, ‘Hey — I know who killed your son,’ you better have it right,” he stated.

“I was shocked when he told me,” stated Invoice.

“So I scribbled it on a piece of paper and I put it in the Bible … on a page, beginning the book of John so I wouldn’t forget it. … And I immediately called the police,” stated Invoice.

But it surely took many extra shouts from Invoice McCabe and 3 extra years for police to turn up at Ferreira’s door. It was once now 2003. Ferreira labored as a forklift operator and lived in Salem, Unused Hampshire. Nancy Williams, his good friend again within the life, was once now his spouse.

“Mike wouldn’t hurt a fly. Never … I know. He wouldn’t,” stated Nancy Ferreira.

Mike Ferreira says he recollects the cookout dialog with Jack Ward very another way.

“Jackie went and told them I said Walter Shelley killed him. I never said that,” Ferreira stated. “And at this cookout, you know, I already had a few drinks and he’s runnin’ his mouth, ‘Shelley did it, Shelley did it.’ And this went on all afternoon. …And finally I got sick of hearin’ it. I says, ‘He probably did it.’ Next thing I know, three years, four years later, I got the cops down at my house wantin’ to talk to me about John McCabe.”

Ferreira additionally denies discussing the jealousy reason with Ward.

“That’s his theory. I never said that,” he stated.

However once more there was once negative corroborating proof. So once more, the case stalled.

“What did they tell you about the investigation?” Schlesinger requested Evelyn.

“‘It’s going fine.’ It was always going fine,” she answered.

“And how long did they tell you that?” Schlesinger requested.

“And you know what, it was sittin’ on a frickin’ shelf,” stated Evelyn.

However the police had no longer forgotten John McCabe. In January 2007, 37 years upcoming the homicide, Gerry Leone was once sworn in as Middlesex County District Lawyer.

“The Lowell Police Department took it upon themselves to visit me weeks after I’d been elected to say, ‘We’d actually like you to focus on this one and take a hard look at it with us,'” stated Leone.

Investigators had long past again over the information and a reputation jumped out at them in Mike Ferreira’s fresh interview with police. In recounting the evening of the homicide, Ferreira stated he was once with Walter Shelley, however this future he added a reputation and stated “the other guy” with them was once Alan Brown.

“Edward Alan Brown’s name surfaces as someone who we’re gonna focus on,” stated Leone.

Edward Alan Brown was once 17 and lived no longer a ways from the McCabe’s when John was once killed. He had lengthy since moved away, but if police tracked him indisposed he stated he knew not anything in regards to the homicide — by no means even heard of it.

“So how likely is it that he would never even have heard of the murder of John McCabe in a town the size of Tewksbury,” Schlesinger requested Leone.

“I’d say curious at the time,” he answered.

And police were given a decision from Brown’s spouse that was once much more curious.

“His wife … told police that she thought he was lying,” Leone stated. “Carolyn Brown indicates to police that 20 to 25 years earlier her husband had told her about an evening … where he was involved in a young man being killed.”

However even that wasn’t enough quantity. It was once the similar aging tale. There was once negative corroborating proof and negative actual motion within the case till 2011, when Det. Linda Coughlin was once assigned to seek out the killers.

“You think this case really took off when you met Detective Linda Coughlin,” Schlesinger famous to Evelyn.

“Yes, definitely,” she answered.

Requested why she felt that method, Evelyn stated, “Because of her attitude. She … she said, ‘I’m going to get them.’ And she did.”

Detective Coughlin zeroed again in on Edward Alan Brown. He was once retired from the Breeze Pressure and dwelling in Unused Hampshire.

Coughlin interrogated Brown – simply two times. When Brown realized he failed a polygraph he unexpectedly unpriviledged indisposed. He confessed that he was once there when Walter Shelley and Mike Ferreira killed John McCabe.

Lowell police introduced within the McCabe’s and informed them Brown’s tale about John’s ultimate hours.

“Why?” Roberta McCabe requested. “My dad started crying, he keeled over on the table…”

On April 15, 2011, just about 42 years upcoming John McCabe’s frame was once present in a vacant accumulation, his father’s perseverance in the end paid off.

“Mr. McCabe held our feet to the fire, he never let us forget John McCabe’s murder,” Lowell Police superintendent Ken Lavallee informed newshounds.

From left, Edward Brown, Mike Ferreira and Walter Shelley had been arrested in April 2011 for the homicide of John McCabe.

Lowell Police Branch

The D.A.’s workplace introduced the indictments of Edward Alan Brown for manslaughter and Michael Ferreira and Walter Shelley for first-degree homicide. Two names identified to police since life one; two names additionally collecting mud in John’s store of mourners.

“The murderers came to the wake. And they came to the funeral,” stated Evelyn.


It could hurry nearly two years to deliver the lads accused of killing John McCabe to trial. Two extra years the McCabe’s must wait.

On Jan. 18, 2013, Edward Alan Brown was once referred to as to testify towards his one-time good friend, Mike Ferreira — the primary defendant to progress on trial.

For the primary future, Brown publicly shared the main points of the evening John died. Brown says he was once at house gazing tv when Mike Ferreira and Walter Shelley pulled as much as his space:

Edward Alan Brown: They sought after me to progress with them to support them.

Prosecutor: Backup them do what?

Edward Alan Brown: I didn’t know on the future till I were given within the automotive and we left.

Brown testified they had been on their solution to the Knights of Columbus Corridor when he realized in their plan:

Edward Alan Brown: They stated they sought after to progress in finding this child that have been… uh you already know, messing round with Marla to show him a lesson.

Prosecutor: And the way do you know Marla Shiner?

Edward Alan Brown: It was once Walter’s female friend.

Edward Alan Brown: Michael spotted John McCabe was once thumbing. And he stated, “There he is.” …  And we pulled up after to John, Michael were given out and grabbed him and driven him … within the again seat the place I used to be…

Michael was once dealing with again — at John, tryin’ to — to smack him. And John had his hands as much as aim to — to prevent him from doing that. … We went beneath the Spaghettiville Bridge …

Brown says they drove up a mud street to the vacant accumulation and pulled over:

Edward Alan Brown: And we were given him out of doors the auto.

Prosecutor: Who driven John out of the auto?

Edward Alan Brown: I did. …I believed they had been simply gonna slap him round.

Prosecutor: What took place after? Next Michael and Walter wrestled John, tripped him up, and were given him at the garden.

Edward Alan Brown at the be on one?s feet.

48 Hours

Brown testified that he and Shelley held John McCabe indisposed, age Ferreira fasten him up:

Edward Alan Brown: Michael fasten his ankles, upcoming went round and fasten his — wrists in combination. Next he took any other piece of rope …  round his ankles and hooked up it as much as his neck. …they’d put tape on his mouth. John’s — squirming, wiggling, seeking to get out. … He’s mendacity on his stomach … uh, along with his legs up within the wind and his — his head grew to become sideways.

Next they stated — that, “This — this’ll teach you to — to mess with Marla anymore.” And we were given within the automotive and left.

Brown says they drove round ingesting beer for a age:

Edward Alan Brown: Next — I informed ’em we will have to progress again and let him progress…

Brown says they ultimately returned to the accumulation:

Edward Alan Brown: Michael and Walter were given out of the auto and went over to him. They had been there for roughly 30, 45 seconds … and so they got here briefly again to the auto … we began to power off and one among ’em stated that he wasn’t respiring.

John McCabe had died of strangulation.

“I wonder … I wonder what he thought of that night,” Evelyn McCabe stated, taking a deep breath.

Edward Alan Brown: Next they introduced me house.

Prosecutor: What did you do?

Edward Alan Brown: I don’t take note. I believe I cried.

Brown says he stored the homicide a mysterious for 41 years as a result of he was once frightened of Michael Ferreira:

Edward Alan Brown: Michael stated, “If anybody talks to anybody about this, I’ll kill him.”

“Alan Brown’s a friggin’ liar, and I mean, they know that,” Ferreira stated. “According to the prosecutor, he’s been to Iraq and Afghanistan five tours. Maybe he’s got somethin’ wrong in his head.”

“They talk about these people that give false confessions,” Nancy Ferreira stated. “Either he did it with somebody else or by himself, or he is really a messed up human being.”

Eric Wilson, Michael Ferreira’s legal professional, believes that police stressed Edward Alan Brown as a result of he was once any individual they may pressure into confessing to a criminal offense he didn’t devote. In addition they presented him a do business in: negative prison future.

“My sense of Edward Brown was he was easily led,” Wilson informed Schlesinger. “Edward Brown did not walk into Lowell Police Department headquarters and say, ‘Look, I got to get this off my chest.’… After being … interrogated by trained detectives … he was faced with the threat of spending the rest of his life in jail — or he could tell the police what they wanted to hear.”

“The question that I had to answer for the jury is why would he tell them that if he didn’t do it,” stated Wilson.

“Did you think you could do that? That’s a tough sell,” Schlesinger famous.

“It was a tough sell – but Ed Brown gave me a lot to work with,” Wilson answered.

Over the route of 2 days, Ferreira’s legal professional grilled Brown relentlessly till he admitted that the prosecution had fed him portions of his tale:

Eric Wilson: You had been fed data it was once a mud accumulation, proper?

Edward Alan Brown: Sure.

Eric Wilson: You had been fed data that it was once close a railroad tower, proper?

Edward Alan Brown: Sure.

Eric Wilson: And also you’re being informed that Shelley was once jealous over Marla Shiner, proper?

Edward Alan Brown: Sure.

“There are certain pieces of information that an investigator may provide to someone who they’re interviewing to see whether or not they know anything about that, to see whether or not it jogs their memory,” stated Gerry Leone.

“Well, but — couldn’t that also be a way of telegraphing to the witness what you want him to say?” Schlesinger requested.

“Well, in this case that didn’t have to happen, because … Brown was the one who talked about the rope, the tape, the binding of John,” Leone answered.

Alternatively Brown were given his tale, Wilson claims it can’t be true, as it does no longer are compatible the proof. In reality, within the 1969 police stories, detectives famous that they had been “unable to find any evidence of a scuffle.”

“There was no suggestion anywhere around John McCabe’s body or the scene that that struggle described by Edward Brown ever took place,” stated Wilson.

“Why would Edward Alan Brown lie and implicate himself so directly in what happened unless it was the truth?” stated Leone.

Wilson concept it was once no longer enough quantity to aim to discredit Brown — he additionally needed to punch holes within the alleged reason: jealousy over a lady. He’ll do it by way of calling that woman, Marla Shiner, to the eyewitness be on one?s feet.


Prosecutors had a condition. It was once their big name eyewitness, Edward Alan Brown, who perceived to wither beneath robust pass exam from the protection:

Eric Wilson: Mr. Brown, you’ve lied beneath contract whilst you’re scared, proper?

Edward Alan Brown: Sure.

Eric Wilson: You’ve lied beneath contract whilst you’re fearful, proper?

Edward Alan Brown: Sure.

Eric Wilson: You’ve lied beneath contract whilst you’re anxious, proper?

Edward Alan Brown: Right kind.

Eric Wilson: You continue to can’t get your info instantly, are you able to?

Edward Alan Brown: Refuse.

So prosecutor Tom O’Reilly referred to as Det. Linda Coughlin to counter accusations that she’d compelled Edward Alan Brown to admit and fed him main points:

Tom O’Reilly: At any level did you feed him data as to the investigation?

Det. Coughlin: By no means.

However Eric Wilson says Coughlin additionally had tunnel optical and unnoticed proof of alternative suspects:

Eric Wilson: There have been plenty of investigative stories and subject material that you simply both lost sight of or didn’t even learn about, true?

Det. Coughlin: I don’t know what you’re relating to.

Eric Wilson: How about Richard Santos?

Richard Santos was once flagged in a Tewksbury police file as a suspect within the McCabe homicide in 1974. Santos was once arrested for committing a criminal offense eerily alike to John McCabe’s homicide.

“This young woman was abducted on Route 38,” Wilson stated. “Her feet were bound, her hands were tied behind her back, her mouth was duct taped, and her eyes were taped shut.”

“All of the facts that surround Santos as a possible subject lead you to be suspicious,” Former D.A. Gerry Leone defined. “But there was never anything tying him to motive, opportunity, means.”

Nonetheless, the pass judgement on allowed the jury to listen to about Santos and any other suspect: Robert Morley, an area 25-year-old, who reportedly knew each Ferreira and Shelley, and was once affected by psychological condition:

Eric Wilson: He was once categorised … lengthy sooner than you had been assigned this situation, as a powerful suspect, proper?

Det. Coughlin: There’s a file that makes use of the promise for him, “strong suspect”. In the exact same file, mentions Mr. Ferreira as a chief suspect.

But it surely’s how Morley turned into a powerful suspect that makes him so fascinating. Police realized about him in a while upcoming the crime from his personal brothers.

“Morley’s own brothers went in and said that they thought he might’ve been involved in it,” Schlesinger famous to Leone.

“Yeah … they thought he might have,” he stated.

Leone says Morley’s brothers had been wrong.

“I think what happens in matters like this is people will say, ‘Sure, you should take a look at X or Y because they have a profile of somebody who would do something like this and they were around the area at the time.’ But then you have to look at the evidence and see whether or not the evidence leads you to believe that they had anything to do with it,” stated Leone.

Eric Wilson: Did the brothers have any particular proof that you simply’re acutely aware of?

Det. Coughlin: They didn’t.

“He split to Florida the day after he was questioned by police,” Wilson defined. “Mr. Morley — years later … committed suicide.”

Eric Wilson: you realized of his demise, suicide proper? He jumped off a bridge, proper?

Det. Coughlin: His brother says he fell off a bridge.

The protection additionally attempted to punch holes within the alleged reason for the homicide and referred to as a stunning eyewitness to do it: Marla Shiner, the woman who Walter Shelley and Mike Ferreira allegedly killed for.

Marla Shiner testified for the protection that she was once no longer courting Walter Shelley on the future of John McCabe’s demise, and that John by no means flirted along with her.

48 Hours

Edward Alan Brown had simply testified that Shiner was once Shelley’s female friend in September of ’69 and Shelley was once jealous as a result of John McCabe was once flirting along with her. However Shiner says John by no means flirted along with her:

Protection: Did you ever progress to a dance with John McCabe?

Marla Shiner: By no means.

Protection: Used to be it ever conveyed to you that he had any form of romantic hobby in you in August or September of 1969?

Marla Shiner: None.

The McCabe’s say it doesn’t topic if the flirting was once actual or imagined.

“She could have been — just stopped and said hello to John, and Shelley could have walked by and seen it … and he’s gonna explode,” Invoice McCabe informed “48 Hours.”

Upcoming Marla Shiner threw the prosecution a curve ball:

Prosecutor: September twenty sixth, 1969 had been you courting Walter Shelley?

Marla Shiner: Refuse … I used to be no longer courting Walter – when John McCabe died.

Prosecutor: When did you get started courting him upcoming?

Marla Shiner: I imagine it was once upcoming that demise.

Prosecution: How aging had been you?

Marla Shiner: 13.

Prosecution: You had been 13 in September of 1969.

Marla Shiner: Oh I don’t know I will be able to’t do the mathematics proper right here.

However consistent with police, Shiner informed them she was once courting Shelley on the future and was once simply 12 years aging once they began optical each and every alternative:

Prosecutor: You didn’t inform the police that you simply had been courting Walter Shelley in 1969 when John McCabe was once killed?

Marla Shiner: I — negative — I don’t imagine I did inform them that.

“Why lie about dating someone, unless it was because of her that John was murdered,” stated Roberta McCabe.

“48 Hours” had questions for Marla Shiner too, however she declined our request for an interview. Shiner ultimately married Walter Shelley, nevertheless it didn’t utmost. She stated he was once “very violent.”

Requested by way of the worker district legal professional if Walter Shelley was once a jealous guy, Shiner stated, “Absolutely.”

The jury deliberated simply 5 hours sooner than discovering Mike Ferreira no longer in charge of the homicide of John McCabe.

48 Hours

This was once a dry fought trial till the top. And upcoming it was once as much as the jury to make a decision: did Mike Ferreira support Walter Shelley shoot John McCabe over a lady? Or was once Edward Alan Brown telling the tale the prosecution sought after to listen to? It most effective took jurors 5 hours to make a decision.

“I told Michael that we had to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. And — he was ready for that,” stated Wilson.

For the McCabe community, greater than 4 a long time of ready and dealing got here all the way down to this hour.

“What did you think the verdict was gonna be?” Schlesinger requested Evelyn McCabe.

“Guilty. My God, he was guilty. If for no other reason, he was there,” she answered.

“It’s hard to understand how the jury could, you know, anticipate otherwise,” stated Invoice McCabe.

Invoice McCabe was once too fearful and too unwell to take a seat within the court docket that life, so he waited in any other room age Evelyn and their daughters heard the decision: No longer in charge.

Everybody, together with Mike Ferreira was once so shocked, it took a age to sink in.

“When the verdict came in, when you heard that — that Ferreira had been acquitted -” Schlesinger stated to Evelyn.

“I had to go tell my husband that,” she stated.

“Were you afraid to tell him?”

“Yes,” stated Evelyn.

Requested why, she informed Schlesinger, “I was afraid he was gonna die.”

Tragically, Evelyn was once proper. Simply 4 days upcoming the decision, Invoice McCabe’s middle gave out — and he gave up.

“What do you think killed your husband?” Schlesinger requested Evelyn.

“Stress. The stress of the trial,” she answered.

Month Evelyn McCabe laid her husband to extra after to their son, the D.A.’s workplace had a choice to construct. Next shedding the case towards Mike Ferreira, wouldn’t it progress forward with the trial of Walter Shelley?


“I still don’t believe Bill is gone. I can still hear him snore in the night. And then I feel the bed. He’s not there,” stated Evelyn McCabe.

She was once enthusiastic to honor her husband’s demise want.

“He laid in the hospital bed, and I said, ‘I’ll pick up and take over for you,'” stated Evelyn.

She’d manage that any individual would pay for John’s homicide.

“And my father just kept prayin’ and sayin’ to me, ‘Before I die, we have to find out who did this,” stated Roberta McCabe.

And gazing Michael Ferreira progress separate was once difficult for some jurors, too.

“So, how hard was it for you to acquit him?” Richard Schlesinger requested juror Michael Duquette.

“It was very difficult,” he answered.

Duquette stated the most important condition was once Edward Alan Brown.

Requested if the vast majority of the jurors believed him, Duquette informed Schlesinger stated “No. …They just felt that he was not telling the truth.”

“They felt that he had been fed information,” Duquette persisted. “And that didn’t make a ton of sense to me. Maybe he wasn’t the best witness. But I just can’t see somebody saying, ‘I did it,’ when they didn’t do it.”

Duquette got here to imagine Brown and sought after to seek out Michael Ferreira in charge of one thing. However the one alternatives the jurors had had been first- and second-degree homicide.

“So what did you want to convict him of?” Schlesinger requested Duquette.

“Manslaughter. And it wasn’t an option,” he answered.

In spite of the Ferreira loss, prosecutors determined to aim to convict the alternative suspect within the homicide: Walter Shelley.

“The acquittal in the Ferreira case didn’t do anything to lessen our belief that we had the right people who were responsible for killing John McCabe,” stated former D.A. Gerry Leone.

September 3, 2013, seven months upcoming Michael Ferreira’s acquittal, it was once Walter Shelley’s flip to be on one?s feet trial. Shelley was once 17 the evening of John’s homicide. He’s now 61, remarried, and has lived quietly in Tewksbury ever since — only some miles from Evelyn McCabe.

If convicted of first-degree homicide, Shelley may just spend the extra of his date in jail.

It was once the similar case prosecutors introduced towards Michael Ferriera. The similar reason and the similar proof introduced by way of the similar eyewitnesses: Marla Shiner, Det. Linda Coughlin, and as soon as once more, the order’s big name eyewitness, Edward Alan Brown.

“Was it any easier to sit through the second trial?” Schlesinger requested Roberta McCabe.

“No, I wanna say it was harder,” she answered. “Dad wasn’t there for backup.”

Brown gave the impression much less rattled this future, extra assured. And the McCabe’s allowed themselves to wish.

“I can keep my fingers, my toes, everything crossed,” stated Roberta.

All over extreme arguments, the protection referred to as Brown a liar.

“He’ll tell you whatever you want to hear,” the protection legal professional Stephen Neyman informed the court docket.

However the prosecution argued that Brown would by no means implicate himself in a criminal offense he didn’t devote.

“What’d he confess for? He was talked into it?” prosecutor Tom O’Reilly stated in his extreme.

The week-long trial going to the jury. This will be the McCabe community’s utmost anticipation to peer any individual held in charge of killing John.

“We had faith that the jury was gonna come with the right answer this time,” stated Debbie McCabe.

In any case, two days then, a verdict.

Walter Shelley’s spouse and community waited nervously. Evelyn McCabe couldn’t carry herself to even take a seat within the court docket and needed to wait out of doors.

“She couldn’t hear another ‘not guilty,'” Debbie stated. “She was scared she was gonna drop dead.”

Walter Shelley reacts to the decision.

48 Hours

Responsible and date at the back of bars for Walter Shelley, whose knees buckled upon listening to the decision. This jury believed Brown.

“So when you heard ‘guilty,’ do you remember the first thing you thought?” Schlesinger requested Roberta McCabe.

“I thought my father would be proud,” she stated. “We got one of them.”

It was once the overall twist in a thriller full of them. For a similar crime and at the similar proof, one guy walked separate and one guy going to jail.

Evelyn McCabe
Evelyn McCabe

48 Hours

“John, guess what? We got him. … Billy, it turned out beautifully,” Evelyn informed her son and husband at their graves. “Please John, please take great care of him till I get there, please? And then I will.”

He didn’t reside to write down about it, however Invoice McCabe in the end were given the top he was once in search of to the tale he wrote about John’s date and demise. A tale that took 4 a long time to play games out about his boy who will likely be 15 years, six months and two weeks aging … without end.

Michael Ferreira  pleaded in charge to perjury and  was once sentenced to  probation for five years as of June 7, 2021.

As a result of Walter Shelly was once a junior on the future of the homicide, his conviction was once downgraded to moment diploma homicide and he  will likely be eligible for parole upcoming serving 15 years in jail.

Evelyn McCabe died in August 2016. Her wrongful demise swimsuit towards Ferreira, Shelley and Brown is being pursued by way of John’s sisters. It’s nonetheless pending.