McCabe struggled and cried, Brown said. He told of how Ferreira tied him up while he sat on McCabe’s legs.
McCabe was then abandoned in the field. His wrists, legs and neck were bound with rope and his eyes and mouth were taped shut, according to police.
Brown testified the three were shocked when they later returned to the field and discovered McCabe wasn’t breathing. A medical examiner ruled he died of asphyxiation.
Brown said Ferreira warned his friends not to tell anyone about what happened, otherwise he would kill them.
Wilson said it was the inconsistent testimony of Brown that helped convince the jury his client was innocent.
“The key to me is whether or not they could believe the testimony of Edward Brown,” he said.
Wilson said Ferreira and his family were grateful to the jury for their decision.
“But we also recognize the anguish the McCabe family is experiencing,” he said.
It’s that anguish that continues to make life painful for Evelyn McCabe, her husband William McCabe, 85, and the rest of their family.
After leaving the courthouse, the couple’s daughter, Debbie Atamanchuk, told of how they were upset with the verdict.
“The last 43 years has been a nightmare for our family,” she said. “Our family wasn’t looking for revenge, we were looking for justice.”
Evelyn McCabe said in a telephone interview last night she was surprised and disappointed Ferreira was acquitted.
“We waited a long time to get him there,” she said.
Ferreira was living at 8 Plaisted Circle in Salem when arrested in April 2011. He had been held on $500,000 cash bail since his arrest and faced life in prison without parole if convicted.
While looking at photograph of her son, the mother told of how much she missed him and how he would bring home wild animals, including an injured Canada goose and baby quail.