BOSTON (CBS) – It has been 28 years and Willie Bennett is still haunted by the memory of Charles Stuart.
Stuart claimed Bennett shot him and his pregnant wife in their car in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood. In an exclusive interview, Bennett told WBZ-TV’s Cheryl Fiandaca that he will never forget what happened to him. “It’s over now. I used to get chills every time I used to hear that, that man’s name,” he said.
The emotionally charged murder rocked Boston to its core.
On October 23, 1989 Charles Stuart called 911 claiming he and his wife, Carol, had been ambushed by a 6 foot tall black man on their way home from a Lamaze class at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Carol and the baby later died. Stuart, who was shot in the abdomen, survived.
Police began searching for suspects and a few weeks later, they zeroed in on Willie Bennett. “Hell no I wasn’t surprised,” he told Fiandaca. “I knew what was going on. They were coming for me anyway because of my past. I was a wild one.”
Willie Bennett admits he was no angel and had a long criminal record, but he did not shoot the Stuarts. “I know I didn’t do it. They know I didn’t do it. It’s just that I had a reputation in the projects and everything that happened in Mission, they were considering it was me,” he said.
All that changed on January 3, 1990, when Stuart’s brother, Matthew, told police Charles was responsible for the shooting. But before Charles Stuart could be arrested, he jumped off the Tobin Bridge.
According to Bennett, if Matthew Stuart had not come forward, things would have turned out differently for him. “Oh, I would have went to jail. No doubt about it, I would have went to jail,” he said.
Bennett did go to prison for armed robbery in Brookline which he claims he did not commit. He Served 12 years and was released in 2002. Now, at age 67, Bennett says he just wants to spend time with the people who always supported him, his siblings and his children.
He credits them for getting him through the dark times. “I’m a strong person. I’ve been through a whole lot. I’ve been in prison half of my life. I’m not doing any more of that silly [expletive] that I used to,” he said. “I can’t forget. Regardless of how much time, I can’t forget.”
Bennett says he can’t forget because his name is now forever linked to Charles Stuart’s – a man he calls a monster: “I aint got nothing to say about that man. He did what he did and now he’s gone. I’ll see him in hell, if there is a hell,” he said.
Bennett says he is still angry about being wrongfully considered a suspect in the Stuart case and he is bitter that he was never compensated for all he went through.