ANDOVER — The best man in John and Geraldine Magee's wedding four decades ago was in shock yesterday upon learning the couple was found shot and killed in their spacious 7 Orchard Crossing home.
Paul Mercandetti described John E. Magee Jr., the owner of a luxury residential construction company, as his best friend with whom he went through school growing up in Arlington.
"They were an incredibly warm family," Mercandetti said. "That is why this blows me away."
The bodies of John "Jack" Magee, 69, and Geraldine "Jeri" Magee, 67, were found by their daughter Holly Magee Senykoff in a first-floor room of the 9,877-square-foot home around 9:15 a.m. yesterday.
Senykoff was leaving her two children to be watched by her parents as she did every Wednesday and sometimes on weekends, Mercandetti said. The couple also have a son, John E. Magee III, who Mercandetti said was in the process of taking over the business.
According to state records the son is registered to vote at 7 Orchard Crossing. Friends of the family said he recently moved to Somerville.
Andover Police Chief Brian Pattullo said investigators have "no person of interest" in what he described as a double homicide.
"The incident appears to be an isolated act," Pattullo said. "The circumstances lead us to believe that there is no further threat to the Andover community."
He declined to elaborate why the public should not be concerned about a killer on the loose.
Police yesterday put out a bulletin seeking the couple's black Lexus SUV. Pattullo confirmed the SUV was found torched in front of 126 Prince St. in Boston's North End. The Boston Fire Department was called to the scene shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.
Pattullo would not offer any information on the circumstances behind the murders, including if a weapon had been found or the condition of the house inside.
"I won't speculate into the specifics of the investigation," Pattullo said. "The investigation is in the early stages and I don't want to give out any specifics that may compromise our investigation."
Pattullo said there is no history of police responses to the home. A dog was found in the home, which was taken care of by Andover Animal Control.
Home, business at same address
There are two businesses listed for 7 Orchard Crossing — Magee Construction and Advance Realty Co. John E. Magee Jr. is also a lawyer listed with the Massachusetts bar at that address. According to the company website, the business was founded by Magee's father John E. Magee Sr. in 1951.
Magee Jr. took over running the business in 1974 after receiving a business degree from Boston University and a law degree from New England School of Law, according to company promotional material.
Mercandetti said his friend built the Orchard Crossing home, which includes a swimming pool. The property is now valued at over $1 million, according to the town's assessors office.
He said the couple had been married for about 40 years and described the family as tight-knit. They have been living in Andover since the early 1970s, he said.
"He and his wife had one of the best relationships I've ever seen," Mercandetti said. "They were wonderful. There is nothing they didn't do together."
He said Geraldine Magee, who everyone called "Jeri," loved planning vacations and making sure the family did things together.
"She was a lady with a capital L," Mercandetti said. "She was a very positive person."
The last murder in Andover happened in November 1991. David Bradner, a postal carrier, was shot to death in the hallway of an Andover Street apartment building as he was delivering mail. The man wanted for his murder, James G. Nelson, 31, also of Andover was found dead in Maine of a self-inflicted gunshot wound a few days later. Police at the time said Bradner owed some money to Nelson for a bathroom remodeling job.
In May 2002, the burned body of a 19-year-old Revere woman was found off Route 125 in Andover. The case is still open. Investigators do believe she was murdered elsewhere and transported to the site.