Judge Reduces Bail For Murder Suspect Ferreira
Third suspect arraigned in Superior Court in connection with the 1969 death of Johnny McCabe.
Michael Ferreira may soon be released from prison pending his trial on charges of first degree murder and perjury.
Ferreira, a resident of Salem, NH, has been held without bail in Middlesex County jail since he was arraigned in juvenile court on murder charges in connection with the 1969 death of Tewksbury 15-year-old Johnny McCabe.
A juvenile court judge ruled last month there was sufficient cause to try Ferreira as an adult, despite the fact he was just 16 at the time of the killing. He was subsequently indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury.
On Thursday, Ferreira was arraigned in Lowell Superior Court. Judge Janet Kenton-Walker set bail at $150,000 cash to cover both charges. She also ruled that if Ferreira were able to post bail, he must reside in Massachusetts, but not in Tewksbury, and he is forbidden from having contact with any of the witnesses in the case or co-defendants Edward Alan Brown and Walter Shelley. Ferreira would also be required to wear an electronic tracking anklet.
Assistant District Attorney Tom O'Brien had argued that Ferreira should continue to be held without bail, citing the nature of the crime.
Ferreira's co-counsel, Eric Wilson argued for $50,000 cash bail. He cited Ferreira's strong ties to the Merrimack Valley, his clean police record and the fact the he did not flee the area despite being aware he was going to be arrested.
Neither Wilson nor O'Brien would comment on the judge's ruling.
Ferreira's wife was in attendance at the arraignment, along with other family members. Also in attendance were Johnny McCabe's parents, William and Evelyn McCabe, as well as his two sisters.
Ferreira, Brown and Shelley, all Tewksbury natives, are accused of kidnapping McCabe as he hitchhiked home on from a dance at the Tewksbury Knights of Columbus on Route 38 in September, 1969. They allegedly beat McCabe in the back of Shelley's car as they drove to a vacant lot in Lowell.
While Brown and Shelley held McCabe down, Ferreira allegedly bound and gagged him, tying his ankles to a rope around his neck, which led to McCabe's death by asphyxiation.
The case remained unsolved for more than 41 years, though all three suspects had been questioned on multiple occasions over the years. The break came in March when Brown, who now lives in Londonderry, NH, was brought in for another round of questioning. He admitted his involvement and implicated Shelley and Ferreira.
According to Brown, the motive in the attack was jealously, as Shelley, then 18, was allegedly angry at McCabe for paying too much attention to Shelley's girlfriend, 13-year-old Marla Shiner.
Shelley, who still lives in Tewksbury, is charged with first degree murder, as well as intimidation of a witness. He is free after posting $500,000 cash bail. Brown has been charged with manslaughter and is free after posting $1,000 cash bail.
The perjury charge against Ferreira stems from what prosecutors allege was false testimony he gave before a Grand Jury convened in 2008.
Ferreira is due back in court on Sept. 27 for pre-trial conferencing.
For additional coverage of the Johnny McCabe Murder Investigation, click here.