UPDATED: Jury Finds Ferreira Not Guilty In Death of Johnny McCabe

District attorney Gerry Leone says he will continue to pursue 1st Degree murder case against Walter Shelley.

Updated at 1 p.m.

A Middlesex Superior Court jury has found Michael Ferreira not guilty in connection with the 1969 death of Tewksbury teen Johnny McCabe.

Despite the testimony of Edward Alan Brown, who admitted to his role in the murder and implicated Ferreira, the Salem, NH man was acquitted.

The jury deliberated roughly five hours before announcing their verdict.

District Attorney Gerry Leone said he was disappointed in the decision of the jury but that he intended to pursue the murder charge against the third man indicted in connection with the crime, Walter Shelley of Tewksbury.

“Although we are disappointed with the verdict, we respect the right of the jury to render this decision today and thank them for their service to the Commonwealth," said Leone, in a prepared statement. "We appreciate the challenges of trying a homicide case 43 years after the killing occurred, however we make decisions on the facts and law, and feel that we have built a strong and solid case against all 3 defendants that withstands our high burdens of proof and persuasion. Accordingly, we will proceed with preparing for the trial of co-defendant Walter Shelley. 

"We will continue to honor the memory of John McCabe by continuing to fight for justice on behalf of him, his family, and the Commonwealth," he said.

Stay with Tewksbury Patch for more on this story, including reaction from the prosecution and the defense, as it becomes available.

Click here for complete coverage of the Michael Ferreira Murder Trial.

Karyn January 25, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Wasn't this the one member of this trio that they had the strongest case against and now he's acquitted? Not a good indication as to how the rest of this tragic case will go. I feel so bad for the McCabe family seeking justice for their son. IMO, a sad outcome indeed.
L D January 25, 2013 at 07:38 PM
While the death of a child is the worst imaginable event that any parent can endure and my heart goes out to the McCabe family in this regard, for those who know ALL of the evidence in this case, the jury reached the correct verdict.
Who Me? January 25, 2013 at 08:01 PM
It’s Prosecutor's Incompetence and over-reach. I’ve seen this blunder more and more lately. The only verdicts the Jury was allowed was guilty of First Degree or Innocent. He should have been charge with Murder in the 2nd or Manslaughter. You knew first degree was going to be hard to sell to the Jury.
Patty January 25, 2013 at 08:18 PM
So disappointed for the McCabes.
Steevo January 25, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I think your point is an excellent one. These were kids, pumped on alcohol, stupid and very mean. Murder wasn't intended, to try and convince the jury of a charge that requires that motivation is reaching too far.
Kevin January 25, 2013 at 09:47 PM
This is hard to believe. How stupid can a group of people be ? One of the participants says that he was there and that the defendant was also there and did it and he is acquitted ? There could not be any reasonable doubt. And they are still going to try the third guy ? Our justice system is lacking. Sad.
Kathleen Brothers January 25, 2013 at 10:24 PM
My heart goes out to the McCabe family. After all these years of suffering now another blow. Justice system is surely lacking.
Kevin January 25, 2013 at 10:38 PM
At least they know what happened and who did it. Whether the jury made the right decision is immaterial at this stage. They have gotten off for a long time. Yes, the family deserves compassion...
Who Me? January 25, 2013 at 10:54 PM
If the DA’s Office believes in Brown as a credible witness, enough to bring a Murder charge, then the DA’s Office should believe that Brown was telling the truth when he said the trio drove around for an hour and returned to where McCabe was tied up. Either Brown is creditable....or he’s not. DA believes he is, so by Brown saying they came back to release McCabe after and hour shows no 1st degree intent. So why charge 1st degree when it wasn’t, and it wasn’t by Brown’s own statement. If they bring 1st degree against Shelley, and force the Jury into either 1st degree Murder or innocent, they will lose that case as well.
Brooke January 25, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Absolutely disgusting. I hope all 3 lying scumbags get what's coming to them.
Someone who knows the family January 26, 2013 at 12:12 AM
I couldn't agree more.....so sorry..... Hope these three rot in #ell!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someone who knows the family January 26, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Honest Joe January 26, 2013 at 01:23 AM
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.
Carol January 26, 2013 at 03:27 AM
That is exactly how I feel, but I say it with a lot more swears. If the go after Shelley the same way he walks too. So brown confesses and pays, puddly as it is, the only price. The DA put manslaughter in front of ferreesfrr what's his face and he laughed at it. Personally, I think the three of them planned the confession and knew just how to get around the law in the great commonwealth of liberalism. Prosecutors should not be allowed to drink
Carol January 26, 2013 at 03:32 AM
The only thing to come out of browns mouth Was man slaughter. Their star witness? Why didn't they put man slaughter on the table at the start? They have to go back to the Aruba school of law and retake classes to get to incompetent.
Bill Luneau January 26, 2013 at 12:35 PM
To the person who said " they were just teenagers pumped up on alcohol and murder wasn't the intent " try telling that to anyone who lost a loved one to a drunk driver behind the wheel.....his/her intent wasn't murder he/she was just all pumped up on alcohol. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction....
Old schoolmate January 26, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Kevin January 26, 2013 at 07:15 PM
It's hard to believe that the prosecutor was incompetent. Although I was not there nor in the jury room, it strains credulity that 12 people who heard a witness who was there and described what happened for the jury to return anything but a guilty verdict regardless of the severity of the charge. If as teenagers they wanted to scare him I can think of a lot of ways to do that without tying him up and leaving him for dead,, No different if you are a teenager and you walk into a convenience store to rob it and you don't plan on any resistance and you end up killing the store clerk..I suspect that a juror was tainted in some fashion. This is beyond the smell test...
Port987 January 26, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Did you ever think ...that the accused may be innocent.......Happens all the time
Port987 January 26, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Maybe they should have gone after the prime suspect.........that they let get away in 1969......There is your Justice system...........
Kevin January 27, 2013 at 03:25 AM
If Brown said he was there and the defendant was there, then there is no gray area. The defendant was there, he participated in the crime. Where is the reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. Why would the witness make up the story 43 year later ? To unburden himself of the guilt...This is a textbook case why we should have professional juries made up of people with common sense- which seems to be not too common with this jury. As DA I would call each juror in a room privately and determine if they were bribed... This is sick and the family of the victim deserves full accountability of the jury.
Kevin February 01, 2013 at 08:13 PM
By virtue of your statement " all of the evidence " you imply that either all of the evidence was not presented or there was exculpatory evidence that created reasonable doubt. There can be no debate, if Mr. Brown said he was there and participated in the prank gone wrong with the defendant, then any reasonable person would conclude that the defendant was a party to the crime. There cannot be any other explanation. Either he was there or he was not. if he could establish he was elsewhere then reasonable doubt exists. Otherwise he is guilty. maybe not of premeditated murder by surely 2nd degree as it is defined. Please use your common sense.


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