UPDATED: Grand Jury Indicts Three in Murder of Johnny McCabe
Case will be moved to Superior Court.
UPDATED: 9 p.m.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone announced today that three men have been indicted by a Grand Jury on charges connected to the 1969 murder of Tewksbury teen Johnny McCabe.
Alan Brown, 59, of Londonberry, NH, was indicted on one count of manslaughter. Walter Shelley, 60, of Tewksbury, was indicted on one count of first degree murder and one count of intimidation of a witness. Michael Ferreira, 57, of Salem, NH, was indicted on one count of perjury for lying to the Grand Jury.
Because Ferreira was 15 at the time of the incident, he is also being charged in juvenile court on one count of first degree murder. Prosecutors have filed a motion to have Ferreira charged as an adult. That hearing has been continued to June 15.
An arraignment, which could take place in either Lowell or Woburn Superior Court, has not yet been scheduled.
The family of Johnny McCabe reacted positively to news of the indictments.
"The McCabe family feels this was expected and this is how it should be!" said Roberta Donovan, Johnny's sister, speaking on behalf of herself, her sister and her parents.
According to court records, Ferreira and Shelley were considered prime suspects from the outset of the investigation, having given investigators conflicting stories about their activities and having failed polygraph tests. However, police allege the trio made a vow of silence, never to discuss the case.
For that reason, the case remained unsolved for decades. A tip in 2008 resulted in a Grand Jury being convened and Fereira being called to testify. He denied any involvement in the murder and denied any knowledge of what happened to Johnny McCabe.
Another tip, three years later, led investigators to track down Brown and bring him in for questioning in March 2011.During that interrogation, Brown finally cracked and admitted his involvement. He also implicated Shelley and Ferreira.
In his statement to police, Brown said they found McCabe hitchiking with a friend along Route 38 after a dance at the Knights of Columbus. He said Ferreira grabbed him and forced him into the back of Shelley's car, where he and Ferreira beat the frightened teen.
Brown claims Shelley drove them to a vacant lot off Maple Street in Lowell, where McCabe was forced from the car. Brown and Shelley allegedly held him down, while Ferreira taped his eyes and his mouth, tied his ankles and wrists and then, according to Brown, tied a rope from his ankles around his neck, a torture technique which led to McCabe's death.
The motive, according to Brown, was jealousy, as Shelley thought his girlfriend, Marla Shiner, was getting too friendly with McCabe.
Arrest warrants for the three defendants were issued on April 14. Brown and Shelley were arraigned in Lowell District Court on April 15 before Judge Tobin Harvey. Shelley was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail. Brown was released on personal recognizance. Ferreira was arraigned that afternoon in Exeter District Court in New Hampshire on the fugitive from justice warrant and was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail. He was arraigned on April 19 in Lowell District Court where Judge Michael Brooks ordered the defendant held on $500,000 cash bail.
Shelley has since made bail. Brown was arrested again at his Londonderry home earlier this month for allegedly threatening to shoot his wife. He has since made bail in that case.
For complete coverage of the Johnny McCabe murder case, click here.