Salem, NH Man Arraigned In Connection With Decades-Old Unsolved Homicide

For Immediate Release July 22, 2011
Contact: Press Office

WOBURN– A Salem, NH man has been arraigned on a charge of first degree murder in connection with the previously unsolved and decades-old homicide of John Joseph McCabe, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone informed the public today.

Michael Ferreira, 57, of Salem, NH, was arraigned today in Lowell District Court on one count of first degree murder. Lowell District Court Judge Thomas Brennan ordered the defendant held without bail. The defendant was previously charged with murder in Juvenile Court, but was moved to District Court last week following a Judge’s ruling.  The defendant was also indicted on May 26 on one count of perjury for lying to the Grand Jury. An arraignment date in Lowell Superior Court on that charge has not yet been set.

His next court date in Lowell District Court is August 26 for a status hearing.

Two additional defendants have been charged in connection with the murder. Edward Allen Brown, 59, of Londonderry, NH, was charged with one count of manslaughter. Walter Shelley, 60, of Tewksbury, was charged with one count of first degree murder and one count of intimidation of a witness.

According to authorities, at approximately 9:45am on September 27, 1969, Lowell Police responded to a vacant field off Maple Street in Lowell for reports of the discovery of a male victim, obviously deceased. 

The victim, identified as 15 year-old John Joseph McCabe, of Tewksbury, was bound with rope, with his eyes and mouth taped shut.

Authorities launched an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the killing.  It was determined that McCabe disappeared after leaving a dance at the Knights of Columbus in Tewksbury and was reported missing by his parents hours later when he did not return home.
Due to recent evidentiary developments, coupled with a 41 year investigation, the three defendants were charged.  It is alleged that Shelley, Ferreira and Brown were all involved in abducting the victim, holding him in a car against his will on September 27, 1969, where they assaulted him, and subsequently bound and gagged him in such a way that it led to his death.   

It is alleged that Shelley drove the car to the vacant field on Maple Street in Lowell and that the defendants left the victim in the field, where he died alone. 

The cause of death was determined to be asphyxia due to strangulation. 

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.

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 investigation is ongoing.

The Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case is Tom O’Reilly.  The Victim Witness Advocate is Dora Quoriz.  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.

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