A current Salem resident will face trial in Woburn, Mass. this week on a first-degree murder charge stemming from a 1969 death of a 15-year-old in Lowell.
Gerald T. Leone, Jr., Disrict Attorney for Middlesex County in Massachusetts, said that 57-year-old Michael Ferreira will be the first of three men charged in the death of John Joseph McCabe of Tewksbury.
Opening arguments will take place at Middlesex Superior Court today at 12 p.m.
On Sept. 27, 1969, at 9:45 a.m., Lowell Police responded to a vacant field off Maple Street in Lowell. There they found a deceased McCabe, who was bound with his eyes and mouth taped shut.
According to authorities, an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the McCabe disappearance found that he disappeared after leaving a dance at the Knights of Columbus in Tewksbury. He was reported missing by his parents hours later when he didn't return home.
Due to recent evidentiary developments, coupled with a 41-year investigation, three defendants were charged.
Charged in the murder along with Ferreira are Edward Allen Brown, 59, of Londonderry, N.H. (one count of manslaughter) and Walter Shelley, 60, of Tewksbury (one count of first degree murder and one count of intimidation of a witness).
According to Leone, it is alleged that all three men were involved in abducting McCabe, holding him in a car against his will on Sept. 27, 1969, assaulting him and finally bounding and gagging him in such a way that led to his death.
Shelley is alleged to have driven the car to the vacant field. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxia due to strangulation.
Further details on the arrests of the three defendants are listed below. All dates are from 2011, as this information was released at the time of the arraignment of Commonwealth v. Michael Ferreira:
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. Ferreira was previously charged with murder in Juvenile Court, but was moved to District Court following a Judge’s ruling. He was arraigned in Lowell District Court on July 22 where Judge Thomas Brennan ordered the defendant held without bail. He was indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on August 12.
Shelley was indicted on May 26 and arraigned in Lowell Superior Court on June 21 where Judge John Lu ordered the defendant held on $500,000.
Brown was also indicted on May 26 and arraigned in Lowell Superior Court on June 28 where Judge John Lu ordered him held on $1,000.
These charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case is Tom O’Reilly. The Victim Witness Advocate is Dora Quiroz. This case was investigated by The Lowell Police Department, The Tewksbury Police Department, and The Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office with assistance from the Salem, New Hampshire Police Department.