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Third Suspect In McCabe Cold Case Murder Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter

Jun 23, 2014 12:58AM ● By Bill Gilman

The McCabe family, Easter 1969.

The McCabe family's 45-year search for justice reached another milestone last week, at the official plea and allocution hearing of Edward Brown.

It was Brown, of Londonderry, NH, who confessed to investigators in March 2011, that he, Walter Shelley and Michael Ferreira kidnapped, beat and murdered Johnny McCabe in September 1969.

Prosecutors cut a deal with Brown, allowing him to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for his testimony against Ferreira and Shelley. Ferreira was acquitted of all charges. Shelley, who still lived in Tewksbury, was convicted of First Degree Murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

Last week, Brown, 62, officially pled guilty and provided details of his role in the crime. According to Brown, he and the other two suspects were cruising around Tewksbury in Shelley's car when they saw the 15-year-old McCabe walking home from a dance at the Knights of Columbus hall.

Brown said they pulled over, grabbed McCabe and forced him into the back of the car, where he was beaten. They then drove to a vacant lot in South Lowell where they pulled McCabe out of the car and bound him in such a way that it slowly asphyxiated the teen.

Brown maintained all along that the plan was never to kill McCabe. Rather, they wanted to "teach him a lesson" and scare him because Shelley believed McCabe had been flirting with Shelley's girlfriend Marla.

Brown said after tying McCabe up, they drove off and came back over an hour later with the intent of letting McCabe go. But when they got back to the lot, they found McCabe dead.

A judge accepted Brown's plea but delayed sentencing until June 2015 because Brown has court cases pending, including a gun charge in New Hampshire. Brown's deal with prosecutors calls for him to to receive five years probation on the manslaughter charge.

Johnny McCabe's mother, Evelyn, and his sisters have followed the case closely and have been present at almost every hearing. William McCabe, Johnny father, passed away in January 2013, shortly after Ferreira was found not guilty.

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