Middlesex County Sheriff DiPaola Dead In Apparent Suicide

Updated on 11/28/10

BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola was found dead in Maine Saturday in an apparent suicide.

Wells Police say he was found on a bed with a single gunshot wound in the head in a room at the Lafayette Resorts on Mile Road.

It is believed DiPaola shot himself sometime between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

“The firearm believed to be involved was found in the room, and the subject did leave a multiple page note,” police said in a statement.

Wells Police Sgt. Kent Berdeen told WBZ Radio the note was addressed to DiPaola’s family.

WBZ Radio’s Suzanne Sausville spoke with Sgt. Berdeen.

The Sheriff’s office issued this statement Saturday evening:

The Middlesex Sheriffs Office is sad to confirm the sudden death of Sheriff James V. DiPaola.

At this time we ask that the family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.

Operations at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will continue under the direction of Special Sheriff John Granara.

Special Sheriff Granara requests you respect the privacy of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office family, as we continue to inform the extensive employee workforce.

Further details are not available at this time.

Arrangements will be handled by the family.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports.


Earlier this week, DiPaola announced he would leave the sheriff’s office in January after a controversial retirement decision.

Just before the November election, DiPaola filed for his retirement. He was then re-elected to office as a retired employee.

So beginning in January, because of a loophole in the state pension system, he would have been legally entitled to his pension and his salary.

But when a Boston Globe reporter began asking questions about his plan for two paychecks and the governor called the move “outrageous,” DiPaola changed his mind.

Had he stayed in office, DiPaola would have made about $750,000 in salary over the next six years as sheriff.


Recently, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office said it was investigating allegations of improper use of campaign funds by DiPaola.

In addition, the state ethics commission was investigating whether sheriff’s office employees were raising money for DiPaola’s political committee.

According to his biography, DiPaola was first elected in November 1996 after serving two terms as the state representative from Malden.

“This is a shocking and tragic event.  I extend my deepest condolences to the DiPaola family and to the Sheriff’s staff, all of whom are certainly reeling with this news.  Sheriff DiPaola had a 30-year record of public service.  Tonight we honor that service and pray for his family,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement.

Before entering politics, DiPaola was an 18-year veteran of the Malden Police Department.

He was 57 years old.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Jonathan Brown

    This is a sad-sad day!!! DiPaulo was a great man. I grew up knowing and respecting him greatly!!! At the age of 9 or 10 I remember halding campaign signs for him when he was running for State Rep. I attended elementary school with his youngest daughter, and was his paperboy for many years! Middlesex County will never be quite the same!!! Thanks Jim for your years of service to the people of the county and the state of Massachusetts!!! My thoughts and prayers are with the Dipaulo family during this aweful time!!! Jim you will be missed greatly!!!

    • 02148

      Agreed . Sheriff Jim was a great man ! May he rest in peace .

  • Jen

    I am sorry for his wife and daughters.

  • Lou Lange

    I don’t think anyone could have expected this…WOW

  • Paul

    Obviously his life insurance is null and voided, I have to assume the same of his pension with his death….so he left his family with virtually nothing. That letter must be loaded. Even if the allegation(s) were true….suicide is NEVER the answer.

    • Sue M

      Life insurance is not always null and void; usually for a set number of years at the beginning.



  • BKM

    suicide is only excluded for 2 years after the issue date of the policy

  • macmum

    This is so sad. This man must have believed he had no choice and must have felt as if “the world was crashing around him”. The end result is the waste of life and a huge loss for his family. Very sad for all.

  • Gen Kelley

    I like how people want to make entries and talk trash abouth the Sheriff, BUT then they list only their first name. Well you are the cowards. What ever Sheriff DiPaola was guilty of, he at least had a moral compass and felt his only way out of a judgemental end to a wonderful carreer was suicide. I happened to be with his wife and he on a trip. HE was very much the loving husband. I know he loved his wife and family. I also thank him for the support he provided to my family when my brother unexpectedly died following a car accident. Everyone makes mistakes. Even former President Clinton. Clinton had no remorse and that is the difference. MAYBE Jim was going to be called out on something? This devestates a man who wore the uniform and performed as Sherriff because he was proud to make a difference in the community. He did make a difference… This loss to his family is a great one. I pray that in the years to come, you hear only kind words about your husband, father and friend. I also hope when Sheriff DiPaola got to the gates of heaven my brother was there to welcome him in his Deputy Sheriff’s uniform. All is forgiven in heaven. You are in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless.

    • Phyl Petrocelli

      He was a wonderful man, Gen. I’m glad you mentioned the cowards who hide behind the computer and their first names. People seem to lack respect and sensitivity towards anyone when they can hide behind the computer.

      My heart goes out to Addie and the girls at this tragic time. Jim will be so missed by all who knew and loved him. He was so larger than life – he loved being sheriff and he was good at it.

      RIP Jim

    • Dave Robertson

      You must have benefited from knowing him. He had no way out and killed himself so his family could collect his benefits (which they shouldn’t) Great thing his name is on all of the sheriff vehicles, more wasted money to remove it! The department will clean house, so all of his buddies getting paid to do nothing must be shaking in their boots now!

  • Cynic

    Matt…whether it is James Forrestal,The Secretary of The Navy or any other person we can never knowWhat leads any person to choose to end his life.`It is sad but it was his decision not ours and we can never know why. All we can feel is great sadness for his suffering as he struggled with this single most intensly personal decision a person can make.

  • P McNamara

    No one thus far has indicated any personal or family experience with suicide. I have that unfortunate experience and know that decisions like this don’t come out of nowhere. His trials are behind him now and his wife and kids are the ones that we should be concerned about now.
    Suicide leaves a hole the size of the Grand Canyon in the family and COWARDS like RLR obviously don’t have the gray matter or weren’t brought up in decent homes to have made a disgusting and awful comment like that. Bet you wouldn’t have the stones to say it to his face or my face…

  • Mike Sheehan

    God bless and protect the DiPaola family during this time of great need and understanding.

    Saint Michael the Archangel,
    defend us in battle.
    Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
    and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
    by the Divine Power of God –
    cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
    who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

    Rest in Peace dear friend. You are and always have been a wonderful and caring man. You have done good and cared for others your entire life. I, like many of your dear friends and family only wish we could have been there for you in your time of need.

  • Ellen

    My deepest condolences goes out to his family, friends, and fellow police officers dealing with this very tragic situation. May God grant him the peace that this world couldn’t, or wouldn’t.

  • Jonathan Brown

    This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats… This is about a human life… People like RLR and all the other haters should think before posting!!! Sorry his life wasn’t perfect like yours!!! DiPaola did so many wonderful things for Massachusetts and Middlesex County because he truly cared!!! If only you could have ever known this great man on any personal level!!! Please stop the HATING… You wouldn’t like it if it was your family!!!

  • Judith Kirwan Kelley

    I am SOO sorry about his suicide. An error that he started to make and then pulled back from was no reason to commit suicide. Again, I am so sorry for the pain and humiliation that he felt that he believed that suicide was his only option. I am also so sorry for his family. Please forgive him and love him for the man he was to all of you. Dr. Judith Kirwan Kelley

  • JaneDo

    Sincerest sympathies to his family. Intense media scrutney and speculation (which during ‘slow’ news days continued to lead despite no new information )becomes akin to bullying -ripe with innuendo and framed as ‘truth’ when it is still unproven. The pension loopholes weren’t created by him and not even used by him. Other issues may have been ‘referred’ to the attorney general but that does not equate with guilt – nor even with legal misconduct. ( Remember innocent until proven guilty?) It sickens me that people who never knew him, nor had any personal contact with anyone who did feel justified to comment on the man and this terrible end to his life.

  • tom wall

    a true tragedy that should not have happened. to his family i am sorry. as to the allegations ,where is the saying of innocent until proven guilty. shame on you that have already convicted him. i feel the fault is with the government for allowing this loophole to be there in the first place. my you rest in peace!

  • jim

    You have absolute proof he was guilty?

  • alanonthego

    Very sad for his family. As far as collecting both salary and pension, while it may make some people mad, the state law says he can do it, so there is nothing wrong with it. Why should he not be able to get as much money for him and his family he can.

  • Realist

    RIP Sheriff DiPaola. The collection of a salary and pension is far to overblown. Thousands of State, Federal, and private sector employees do it routinely without fear of such retribution, Retire, return to the same agency as a “contractor” or “consultant” and get paid plus the pension you have rightfully earned. Given the chance who among us would not do the same?

  • enough

    Could this have had any guilty relation to the AG investigation of the probation dept. ?? Did he have any involvement in that case??The timing of all of this is very strange.

  • come on

    Why is everyone think that he would take his life over a pension loop hole? I don’t think so . I hope the note he left has some information about what the guilt was all about. Or perhaps AG could ask Deleo or Dimasi. Something tells me these guys are bad to the bone. Something doesn’t seem right. Sad loss for his family during the holidays.

  • Johnjoyce

    Its know way to go out and Its very sad. i Knew Jimmy my met him on several occasions .. I am stunned right now .. I have been since I found out !!

  • Maria Patricio

    .we never know what goes on in a person head or person’s life.I didn’t know him but my condolences to his family and my heart goes to him.Rest in peace sheriff

  • capecodjim

    Other politicians who try and swindle us with pension games should follow in his footsteps. Mr. Bulger, are you reading?

  • boston jarred

    Andrea Estes of the Boston Globe is who has sought out verbal lynchings in the past is also the same person that wrote article after article about this man. She did’nt care if he broke no laws, she just wanted her story….and Im sure she’s pleased that she has a lot more material to work with now. She is an embarrassment to journalism and made sure everyone knew about this until it got higher attention.
    This pressure is enough to make anyone lose their sleep and sanity. John Murphy of the Boston Globe was her side kick on harrassing this man even though he was’nt breaking the law. They have’nt left him alone for a while. Andrea? Are you happy with your story now? Congrats.

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