Evelyn McCabe gazed at the photograph of her son as she listened to a television news report — a report telling how a suspect in 15-year-old John McCabe’s murder was acquitted only hours earlier.
“I really wanted justice and I didn’t see it happen,” she said last night. “I just felt we got gypped a little bit.”
For 43 years, the 80-year-old Tewksbury woman and her family have waited for justice to be served, ever since her son’s bound, lifeless body was found in a Lowell field in September 1969.
She continues to wait.
But for 59-year-old Michael Ferreira of Salem, N.H., yesterday marked a new beginning. Ferreira walked out of Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn a free man following his acquittal in the murder of John McCabe.
“Mike has been through a lot in the last few years,” said Eric Wilson, Ferreira’s attorney. “It turned life upside down for him and his family. I think he’s going to sleep well tonight.”
For nearly two years, Ferreira has been behind bars — one of three suspects in the murder. The jury deliberated for almost five hours Thursday and yesterday before reaching its verdict shortly before noon.
Ferreira has been on trial since Jan. 14, waiting to learn his fate after co-defendant and former friend, Edward Brown of Londonderry, testified against him.
Brown, charged with manslaughter, testified as part of a plea agreement with the prosecution after confessing two years ago. He described for the jury how he, Ferreira and their friend, Walter Shelley of Tewksbury — all teenagers at the time — forced McCabe into a car as he walked home from a dance in Tewksbury.
Brown, now 61, said he only thought his friends were going to frighten McCabe and rough him up because he flirted with Shelley’s girlfriend. But then, Ferreira and Shelley dragged the scared teen out of the car, Brown said.