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Family Seeks 'Full Justice,' Files Wrongful Death Suit in McCabe Case

The family announced the decision on Wednesday afternoon through a Lowell-based law firm.

The McCabe family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
The McCabe family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Evelyn McCabe has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the men involved in killing her 15-year-old son, John McCabe, in Tewksbury nearly 45 years ago.

The announcement was made on Wednesday afternoon by the Lowell-based law firm Gallagher and Cavanaugh LLP, which will be representing the family in the lawsuit.

John McCabe was found dead in 1969 and the case went unsolved until 2011. That is when Edward Alan Brown admitted to the murder and claimed that he and friends Walter Shelley and Michael Ferreira, teenagers at the time, kidnapped McCabe following a dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall on September 26, 1969.

Brown acted as the state's witness and pled guilty to manslaughter, Ferreira was cleared of murder charges and Shelley was convicted of first-degree murder during separate trials in recent years.

"For 45 years, full justice has has eluded the McCabe family," said Michael Gallagher, one of the firm's attorneys. "The Middlesex District Attorney's office and numerous law enforcement professionals did a remarkable job in cracking the case and securing a confession from Mr. Brown and the conviction of Mr. Shelley. However, the civil process can now be employed to get the full story - to find out exactly what happened and why - and to hold everyone involved in Johnny's death accountable."

Gallagher noted that during the criminal case, Ferreira and Shelley did not take the stand and were not required to answer questions about the case. On the civil side, however, they will be required to do so under oath, according to Gallagher.

According to prosecutors, the three men kidnapped and tied up, duct taped his mouth and eyes and left him in a vacant field as punishment for flirting with Shelley's girlfriend. When they returned later in the evening, McCabe was dead.

Evelyn McCabe is now 81 years old. According to the announcement by Gallagher and Cavanaugh, John McCabe's father, William McCabe, shared his thoughts about the men in his unfinished book about his son.

"Perhaps as the killer gets older and watches his children or his friends' children grow, and as he reaches out to touch them, he will think of our son and our loneliness and sadness," wrote William McCabe.
Brooke February 12, 2014 at 06:55 PM
Good for the McCabes! I hope this process drags all THREE murderers through hell and back, the way this family had to suffer for decades because of their cowardice.
"the eyes of T-Bury" February 13, 2014 at 05:34 AM
Can you please fix the spelling of justice in the title?? Not very professional.
Matt Schooley (Editor) February 13, 2014 at 05:49 AM
Consider it done, Eyes. Sorry about that, and thank you for catching that!

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