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Jury Deliberations Underway In 1969 Cold Case Murder

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WBZ-TV's Ken McLeod Ken MacLeod
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WOBURN (CBS) – Jury deliberations are underway in a cold case murder.

Michael Ferreira is one of three accused and the first to stand trial in the death of a teenager more than 40 years ago.

Defense attorneys hammered away at police, prosecutors, and their star witness, insisting Edward Allen Brown was spoon fed the facts for his confession in exchange for a “no jail time” plea deal.

“This was not a fact finding case,” said defense attorney Eric Wilson. “This was a fact feeding case.”

It was Brown who finally came clean on this 42-year-old murder, testifying that he helped snatch 15-year-old John McCabe off the street as he walked home from a Tewksbury dance in September of 1969, supposedly as payback for flirting with the wrong girl.

“John McCabe never had a chance when they dragged him off the street,” Prosecutor Thomas O’Reilly said.

Brown says he was there when defendant Michael Ferreira and his friend Walter Shelley took the frightened teen to a Lowell field, bound his hands, feet, and neck with rope and left him there.

“I thought they were just going to slap him around and do something to him,” said Brown.

McCabe essentially strangled himself trying to wriggle free.

Ferreira did not take the stand, content to let his attorneys blast away at the differing versions of Brown’s cold case confession, insisting they don’t fit the evidence.

Wilson said, “Everywhere you turn in this case there is reasonable doubt.”

Prosecutors admit four decades have scattered the puzzle pieces, but offered jurors their take on Brown’s belated confession.

“Maybe after 40 years of trying to ignore it, he couldn’t anymore,” O’Reilly said.

During the trial defense attorneys wanted the judge to give jurors the option of a lesser offense, manslaughter. This morning, the defendant himself reversed course, apparently feeling that the jury is leaning toward acquittal.

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