EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 10, 2013

Andover murder case remains unsolved

Two years later, Magee family still awaiting answers

By Dustin Luca
dluca@eagletribune.com

---- — ANDOVER — Almost two years after the execution-style murders of John and Geraldine Magee shook their Orchard Crossing neighborhood, the couple’s family continues to search for answers.

No arrests have been made in the case and few clues have surfaced about possible suspects or motives, leaving relatives to remain in the dark, without closure.

“It’s very hard for the family,” Jeff Greene, Geraldine Magee’s nephew, said yesterday. “We all just, to this day, really have no idea what went on and what led to this.”

On Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011, John E. “Jack” Magee, 69, and Geraldine M. “Jeri” Magee, 67, were both found shot dead on the first floor of their 14-room home at 7 Orchard Crossing at around 9:18 a.m.

A dozen hours earlier, their black Lexus was found burning in Boston’s North End.

Authorities said from the outset that they had no person of interest. But from the start, now-retired Andover Police Chief Brian Pattullo assured the public that “the circumstances lead us to believe there’s no further threat to the Andover community.”

Greene said the Magees’ family has spent a lot of time the last two years in a game of speculative play-by-play, hoping to uncover some explanation for who would have wanted the couple dead.

“We run a lot of different scenarios through our head, and none of them make any sense,” he said. “You’d like to figure the mystery out, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a solution at this point — nothing that could give rise to this kind of result.”

Today, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office and the Andover Police Department are expected to issue a joint release on the investigation in anticipation of the two-year anniversary of the double homicide. Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, declined to provide details on the release yesterday.

In July on the eve of his retirement, Pattullo expressed regret that the murders had not been solved before he left the job, saying he did not want to send the case unsolved to someone else’s desk.

“The DA (Blodgett) has lit a fire under the case,” Pattullo said in the days before handing over the Police Department to new Chief Patrick Keefe. “It is not a cold case. It is an active investigation. It was a tragedy that is being actively worked.”

Greene said the couple’s family simply hopes authorities “have the right resources dedicated to the crime.”

Meanwhile, the Orchard Crossing home that was built in the mid-1980s by the Magee family’s construction business is up for sale.

According to online real estate listings, the four-bedroom, four-bathroom house was put up for sale in June for $1.25 million. The price has since dropped to $999,000, with the latest reduction of $100,000 coming in mid-November.

The 5,500-square-foot home is described as being “majestically sited” on an almost 2-acre, premiere lot in a very desirable location, just a heartbeat from Phillips Academy.

Greene said that since the house first hit the market, “there has been interest, and we remain hopeful the right buyer is out there for it.”

“It’s a very unique property with a lot of great features,” he said.

As for Magee Construction, son John Magee III continues to operate the company once run by his father that is responsible for developing the Orchard Crossing neighborhood.

“Magee Construction remains an ongoing entity,” Greene said. “Houses are being built.”

Last year on the one-year anniversary of the murders, law enforcement officials, with no new information to share on the case, appealed to the public for anyone “to come forward with any information whatsoever, however small or insignificant they may think it is,” Blodgett said at the time.

Now as another year passes, the crime appears to remain unsolved. Yet, the family is still hopeful something will soon come to light.

“The family remains supportive of the police,” Greene said. “We get regular updates from them. We trust that this investigation remains in their primary focus.”