Ferreira's Fate Now In The Hands Of A Jury
Jurors will have the option to convict on 1st or 2nd degree murder.
About the only facts that Assistant District Attorney Tom O'Reilly and Defense Atty. Eric Wilson agree on is that Johnny McCabe was murdered some time in the early morning hours of Sept. 27, 1969 and that his death was a horrible tragedy.
Beyond that, the men spun starkly different tales regarding how that death may have occurred during their closing arguments in the murder trial of Michael Ferreira.
Middlesex Superior Court jurors began deliberating Ferreira's fate at around 1 p.m. A verdict is not expected today, as the jury will need to weed through dozens of pieces of evidence and several days worth of witness testimony.
In his instructions, Judge David Ricciardone told the jurors they had the option to acquit Ferreira or to convict on First-Degree Murder, Second-Degree-Murder or Second-Degree Felony Murder.
Ferreira, who now lives in Salem, NH, is one of three men accused of kidnapping McCabe off Route 38 in Tewksbury on Sept. 26, 1969, driving him to a vacant lot in Lowell and then binding and gagging the 15-year-old in such a way that it led to his death by asphyxiation.
The motive in the case has been said to be jealousy, with Walter Shelley believing that McCabe had been flirting with his girlfriend Marla Shiner.
Shelley, who still lives in Tewksbury, is also charged with First-Degree Murder. The third man, Edward Alan Brown, of Londonderry, NH, will plead guilty to manslaughter and receive five years probation in exchange for his testimony against both Shelley and Ferreira.
In his closing argument, Wilson told the jury that investigators had ignored two other viable suspects in the case and that Brown's testimony had been coerced by an overly zealous Lowell Police Detective.
"Everywhere you turn in this case, everywhere you turn there is reasonable doubt," said Wilson.
In his closing argument, O'Reilly refuted Wilson's claims and said members of the jury needed to ask themselves what reason Brown would have to admit to a murder he wasn't a part of.
"The only people who know what happened on Maple Street, in that field, are the people who did it," he said.
Tewksbury Patch will publish the verdict in this case as soon as it is reached and announced