Stuart (1959-January 4, 1990) was a Boston man who murdered his pregnant
wife and inflamed racial tension by blaming a non-existent black
On Oct. 23,
1989, Charles Stuart, a furrier, and his pregnant wife Carol
(born Carol DiMaiti, March 26, 1959), a lawyer, got into their
car after attending childbirth classes at Brigham and Women's
police, Stuart shot his wife in the head and himself in the
stomach, and then called 911 on his cell phone. Carol Stuart
died that night, after their son, Christopher, was delivered by
cesearean section. He suffered seizures due to oxygen
deprivation, and died 17 days later after his father
discontinued his life support.
the crime on a black man. The Boston police aggressively pursued
black men without probable cause. They suspected one Willie
Bennett, and on December 28, Stuart fingered him out of a
against Bennett came to an abrupt close when Stuart's brother,
Matthew, identified Charles Stuart as the killer. Stuart had
been involved in an affair, and was having financial
An article was
published in the Boston Globe alleging that a $480,000 check was
issued to Charles Stuart in payment for a life insurance policy
on his wife, but this was later found to be false, as no such
check was ever found. On January 4, 1990, he jumped from the
Tobin Bridge to his death.
Stuart's memory, her family established the Carol DiMaiti Stuart
Foundation to provide scholarship aid to Mission Hill residents.
By early 2006, the foundation had awarded $1.2 million to 220
portrayed by Ken Olin in the 1990 CBS telefilm Good Night
Sweet Wife: A Murder in Boston.
Charles "Chuck" Stuart
(December 18, 1959–January 4, 1990) was a man from Reading,
Massachusetts, who murdered his pregnant wife and inflamed racial
tensions in the Boston area by concocting a fictitious African-American
On October 23, 1989, Stuart, manager of the
upscale Kakas Furs on Newbury Street, and his pregnant wife
Carol (nee Carol DiMaiti, March 26, 1959), a lawyer, got into
their car after attending childbirth classes at Brigham and
Women's Hospital. According to Stuart's subsequent statement, a
black gunman with a raspy voice forced his way into their car at
a stoplight, ordered them to drive to nearby Mission Hill,
robbed them, then opened fire, shooting Charles in the stomach
and Carol in the head. Stuart then drove away to escape, calling
911 on his car phone.
A film crew for the CBS Reality television
series Rescue 911 happened to be riding with Boston
Emergency Medical Services personnel and was able to capture the
scene as police and paramedics assisted Stuart.
Carol Stuart died that night,
after her son, Christopher, was delivered two months early by
caesarean section. The infant suffered seizures due to oxygen
deprivation and died 17 days later after his father authorized
discontinuing life support.
Boston police searched for suspects matching
Stuart's description of the assailant. Police suspected a man
named Willie Bennett and on December 28, Stuart picked him out of
a lineup. Though investigating officers asked doctors whether
Stuart's wounds could have been self-inflicted, they were told
that this was very unlikely, given the severity of the injuries.
The case against Bennett abruptly collapsed
when Charles Stuart's brother, Matthew, identified Charles as the
killer. Matthew admitted that he had driven to meet Stuart that
night to help him commit what he'd been told was to be an
Upon arrival, Matthew said that he had seen
that Carol had been shot, and that his brother, also wounded, had
apparently shot himself to support his story. Matthew took the gun
and a bag of valuables, including Carol's wedding rings, and threw
them off the Pines River Bridge in Revere. The items were later
Police later learned that Stuart had been
interested in (but allegedly not involved with) an intern at the
fur salon and was also having financial difficulties. An article
in The Boston Globe alleged that a $480,000 check was
issued to Charles Stuart in payment for a life insurance policy on
his wife, but this was later found to be false, as no such check
was ever found.
On January 4, 1990, Charles Stuart committed
suicide by leaping to his death from the Tobin Bridge, in
Chelsea, Massachusetts. A note was found in Stuart's car,
stating that he could not deal with the allegations against him.
Carol Stuart Memorial Scholarship
In Carol Stuart's memory, her family
established the Carol DiMaiti Stuart Foundation to provide
scholarship aid to Mission Hill residents. By early 2006, the
foundation had awarded $1.2 million to 220 students.
One scholarship recipient, 24 year old
Mission Hill graduate Imette St. Guillen, was murdered in New
York City in 2006.
Stuart was portrayed by Thirtysomething star
Ken Olin in the 1990 CBS TV movie Good Night Sweet Wife: A
Murder in Boston.
Mark Wahlberg and his former group Marky Mark
and the Funky Bunch referred to this story in their song "Wildside."
Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs refer to this story in
the song "Speak Upon It" from the album Life of a Kid in the
The Law & Order episode "Happily Ever
After" is based on the Charles Stuart case.
The plot of Robert B. Parker's Spenser novel
Small Vices revolves around a case where a black man is framed
for the murder of white woman. The Stuart case is also referred to
by name during the novel as example of how effective blaming a
non-existent minority perpetrator can be in distracting the police.
The play "Drive" by playwright and actor Neal
Bell, is based upon the Stuart murder.
Referenced in the Dennis Lehane novel " A Drink
Before The War".
South Park Season 5, Episode 514, Air Date Dec
12 2001: "Butters' Own Episode" , Butters' parent's mistakenly
think his mother has murdered him and consider framing a man based
on this story.
Illusion and Tragedy Coexist After a
By Constance L. Hays - The New York Times
January 7, 1990
The illusion of the perfect couple,
secure in their jobs and striving for the next rung on the
social ladder, persists here, despite the grotesque turn the
story of Carol and Charles Stuart took this week.
Neighbors in suburban Reading remember the
Stuarts as the friendly husband and wife who jogged together and
tended flowers in their front yard. Charles is remembered as the
man who coached Little League baseball and helped a neighbor
The illusion of normality persists even now:
the front door of the Stuarts' house still has a Christmas wreath
made of bundled grapevines and decorated with baby-blue teddy
bears and hearts.
But the story of the Stuarts in the last 10
weeks, and especially over the last few days, is one that people
who knew the couple - or thought they did - say they cannot
A Story of Robbery
Mrs. Stuart, 30 years old, died on Oct. 24 from
a bullet that pierced her skull. The night before, the police
found her and her husband bloodied in their car in the city's
Mission Hill neighborhood.
Mr. Stuart told the police that he and his wife
had been abducted, robbed and shot by a black man who jumped into
their car as they left a childbirth class at a hospital here. Mr.
Stuart, 29, was seriously wounded, and their infant son, delivered
eight weeks premature by Caesarean section and named Christopher,
died about two weeks later.
On Thursday, Mr. Stuart apparently committed
suicide by leaping from Tobin Bridge into Boston Harbor. As his
body was being recovered from the water, the police said he had
become the chief suspect in the slaying of his wife and child.
On the day of Charles Stuart's death, a lawyer
for his 23-year-old brother, Matthew, said Charles had asked
Matthew to meet him near the hospital the night of the shooting,
and that Charles Stuart passed a bag holding jewelry and a gun to
his brother as they sat in their cars.
Today, The Boston Herald reported that another
man has said he was a passenger in Matthew Stuart's car and also
saw Charles Stuart that night.
Relative Turns In a Ring
John M. Julian, a spokesman for the Suffolk
County District Attorney, said he could not confirm the story
about Matthew Stuart and did not know of another person having
been in the car with him. ''We can't comment about Matthew Stuart,''
said Mr. Julian.
The District Attorney, Newman Flanagan,
revealed Thursday that a family member had come to the police
Wednesday with information and a diamond engagement ring that had
belonged to Carol Stuart and had supposedly been stolen by the man
who shot the couple. On that basis, the police moved to arrest
Charles Stuart but could not find him.
A handbag belonging to Mrs. Stuart was
recovered Thursday from the muddy Pines River in Revere, where Mr.
Stuart grew up and where his family still lives. Today, the police
continued to search the river for the murder weapon.Investigators
are also said to be interviewing Matthew Stuart.
Insurance Cashed In
A salesman at the Marcou Jewelry store in
Peabody, Mass., commenting on earlier published reports, said
today that Charles Stuart had purchased gold jewelry and a clock
with a total value of $950 on two occasions. The more recent
occasion was Tuesday, two days before his body was discovered,
said the salesman.
Asked about the purchases, the first assistant
district attorney for Suffolk County, Paul K. Leary, said, ''I
make no comment.'' He did confirm that a life-insurance policy
valued at $82,000 or $83,000, held by Carol Stuart and naming her
husband as beneficiary, had been cashed. He said he was not sure
To friends and family of the dead couple, the
deaths are baffling beyond comprehension. From a front room in her
Revere house Marilyn Sliwinski can see the red Cape Cod-style
house of Charles Stuart's parents. Mrs. Sliwinski's son once
played ball on the dead-end street with the Stuart brothers.
Consolation Is Returned
''I went over last night to console his mother,''
Mrs. Sliwinski said. ''I didn't want to go over, but when I lost
my husband, she came over to see me. She seemed just worn out".
At the Medford home of Carol Stuart's parents,
Giusto and Evelyn DiMaiti, the shades are drawn and family members
speak in hushed tones. Like Revere, Medford is a mostly white,
working-class suburb north of Boston.
''We're just bowled over by grief,'' said a
woman who would identify herself only as Carol Stuart's aunt. Mr.
DiMaiti, who was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital after
hearing of his son-in-law's suicide and that he had been a suspect,
has been released and is recuperating, she said.
Worked as Tax Lawyer
Carol Stuart was born on March 26, 1959, and
attended St. James School, a Catholic school a few doors from her
parents' house. She graduated from Boston College in 1981 and from
Suffolk University Law School in 1986. She worked as a tax lawyer
at Cahners Publishing Company in West Newton, a Boston suburb.
She met Charles Stuart in 1980 when they were
working at the Driftwood Restaurant in Revere, about a 10-minute
drive south from Medford. He was a chef and she was a waitress,
friends recall. They married at St. James Church in Carol's
neighborhood in 1985.
Charles Stuart was ruggedly handsome, athletic
but not the kind of student his wife became. It is unclear whether
he attended college, although some friends said that he won a
football scholarship at one point. He got a job at Kakas Furs, a
prominent furrier on swank Newbury Street in Boston, and by last
fall had risen to general manager, said the owner, Edward F. Kakas.
Close to Their Families
The couple was often seen jogging in their
neighborhood or tending to their house. They seemed to spend
almost all of their spare time together. Both remained close to
their families; Mrs. Stuart was said to call her parents every
night, and Mr. Stuart often visited his parents in Revere.
One of Mr. Stuart's three brothers, who
answered the door Friday, said the family was unable to talk to
reporters. All afternoon, family friends drove in and out of the
driveway and entered through the back door. Mrs. Sliwinski and
others in the neighborhood said the Stuarts were devastated by the
Recalling Charles Stuart's background, Mrs.
Sliwinski said, ''He was a coach for the Little League here in
town.'' She said Charles was named after his father, a retired
insurance salesman. His mother, Dorothy, was a switchboard
operator in a hospital.
Bad Fall and Winter
It had been a difficult fall and winter for the
parents, neighbors said. The elder Mr. Stuart, who always took
pride in the appearance of his house, was unable to paint the
exterior this year because of complications from Parkinson's
disease. Mrs. Stuart underwent a mastectomy and was released from
the hospital two days before the shootings.
The neighborhood is tight-knit and traditional,
said Kathy King, whose house on Norman Street backs up to the
Stuarts' home. She pointed out house after house where the
children had continued to live with their parents or bought places
Charles Stuart diverged from that path, however.
A year after their marriage, he and his wife bought a house in
Reading, a suburb about 15 miles north of there. The slate blue
house with a pool in the backyard was searched Friday by the
Boston police, who removed several items of clothing and a large
envelope. The nature of the clothing and the contents of the
envelope were not known.
Liked Dogs and Flowers
Until recently the Stuarts, by all accounts,
had seemed unlikely ever to attract police attention. ''They lived
in this town for three years, and they were not known by any
members of the Reading Police Department,'' said Chief Edward
The couple kept two big dogs, described as
Labradors by one neighbor. They were often out in their small
front yard, planting rhododendrons and other shrubbery. In the
summer, they held pool parties for relatives. They seemed excited
about the baby, Carol Stuart's aunt said.
''They had everything,'' said Lena Guarino, who
lives across the street. ''We never heard a fight. Every Friday,
they'd go out for supper with another couple. They were so nice.
We didn't expect all of this. Usually when somebody doesn't get
along, you hear a scream or a fight.''
A Helpful Neighbor
After the first snowfall of the Stuarts' first
year in the neighborhood, Mrs. Guarino said, she was out shoveling
snow from her driveway when Mr. Stuart appeared. ''He came over
and took the shovel,'' she said. ''I said, 'What are you doing, I
can do that.' He said, 'I like helping my neighbors.' ''
Now the quiet street attracts the curious, who
drive slowly by the house of Charles and Carol Stuart.
Still not quite believing everything that has
happened, Marilyn Sliwinski said, ''I'm dying for the movie to
come out so I can see how it ends.''
Today, his family held a funeral for Charles
Stuart. A bouquet of roses decorated the casket, which will be
buried sometime next week.
A Look Back at a Notorious Boston Murder with Racist
Laurie D. T. Mann
On October 23, 1989, Carol Stuart, a
pregnant, white lawyer was shot in the head in the Mission
Hill neighborhood of Boston.
Mission Hill is a racially-mixed section
of the city, with a high rate of drug users and crime. Her
husband Charles, a fur store manager, who's been shot in the
gut by the same maniac, called for EMTs over his car phone.
It happened the people shooting the TV
show 911 were riding through Boston that night, and
were there as soon as the ambulance was. So the nation got
some surprisingly graphic footage of a bleeding man in blue
jeans being put into an ambulance. The phone call Charles
made to the dispatcher was also broadcast nationwide. That
night, Carol died of her injuries after her baby was
delivered via C-section. The baby had immediate seizures due
to blood and oxygen deprivation.
Charles said they'd been shot by a black
man with a raspy voice. The Boston police turned Mission
Hill into an armed camp, looking for this man. Almost every
black man too old to ride a tricycle and too young to be in
a wheelchair was stopped and searched, sometimes more than
Newspaper headlines screamed about
racially-motivated shootings. There were immediate calls for
restoration of the death penalty. A few days later, Carol
was buried, and a letter from her husband was read for the
congregation ("Sleep with the angels, my love...''). Two
weeks later, little Christopher Stuart died after his father
had him taken off of life support.
The Boston police arrested a man named
William Bennett a few days later. He was arrested for a
video store robbery, but came under immediate suspicion as
the murderer in the Stuart case. There were almost daily
leaks from someone in the police department about how
Bennett was probably the murderer.
While he had a raspy voice and a massive
criminal record, his mother insisted he was not around
Mission Hill the night of the shootings. Just after
Christmas, Charles Stuart identified William Bennett as the
person who most looked and sounded like the man who shot
them. A police source promised that Bennett would be
formally charged with the shootings any time.
What's wrong with this picture?
Everything I stated is true:
A white woman is killed in a black
neighborhood, and her prematurely-delivered baby dies a
few weeks later.
Her husband is seriously shot and
says a black man did the shooting.
The black man and his family protest
his innocence in this case.
These stated facts may be true, but they
are not the truth of the matter at all. The truth of the
matter was that Charles Stuart manipulated his wife, his
family, the Boston police, the media, and even the nation to
almost get away with murder. Yes, it's easy now to
look at the trail he left---talking to old classmates about
murder ("as a joke''), taking out insurance policies on his
wife, and stealing his employer's gun. But the fact is, we
all bought his story.
I remember when the word first hit the
local radio on Thursday, January 4th that Charles Stuart's
car was left running on the Tobin Bridge and a suicide note
was found in it. At that time, other than calling it a
tragedy, the newscaster only said the police had a warrant
out for his arrest. My initial reaction was that the police
had really fouled up this time. There was no way Chuck
Stuart could be guilty.
As the "true" story began to unfold on
the radio that morning, it was far more chilling than the
official version we had heard. The murder of Carol Stuart
was not an act of random violence by a robber, but was the
calculated murder of a wife by her husband. Charles Stuart
played on the ingrained racism of the Boston community by
selecting the locale of the murder and the race of the man
he accused of the murder.
Charles Stuart wove a web of lies that we
were all too ready to believe. And he was aided and abetted
by his younger brother Matt, a 23-year-old accessory who
caught Carol's purse from his big brother's car window just
after the shooting.
Matt Stuart, through family lawyers,
maintains that he had no idea what was going on, and he
thought it was just an insurance scam. This kid went on to
be a pall-bearer for his sister-in-law's casket. Sure, he
had no idea...While it took him a few months, his conscience
eventually got the best of him, and he took the true story
to his other brothers and sisters, their parents, and,
eventually, to the police.
I can believe the public and the media
being taken in by this case. However, I find myself very
angry with the police in this case. Why were the police so
ready to buy Stuart's story? Why didn't they investigate the
Stuart's story a little more deeply? Are police
investigators supposed to be a little more suspicious? And
why did it take Matt Stuart's confession to get the police
off of Willie Bennett?
Let's look at Willie Bennett, the man the
police never formally charged with the murder. Bennett is an
inarticulate man whom the Boston Public Schools labelled as
a mental defective when he was a student. A school dropout,
he's been involved in a number of shootings and robberies
over the years, and spent many years in jail.
On top of not being a model citizen, one
of Bennett's crimes was the shooting of a police officer.
And nothing gets the police angrier than dealing with a cop-shooter
(I don't think he killed the cop). Unless, of course, they
are dealing with a black ex-con who has at least one cop-shootingon
While I never suspected Charles Stuart of
the murder, I also never believed the case against WIllie
Bennett. It seemed too convenient, too easy, The two main
pieces of "evidence" against him was that Charles Stuart
said the shooter had a raspy voice, and that he was wearing
a jogging outfit. So the police were out after a black man
wearing a jogging outfit in a racially-mixed area. Funny
thing was, other than Charles Stuart, no one remembered
seeing a man matching that description anywhere near the
Some hearsay was also involved in this
case. The police reported that a teenaged friend of Bennett
heard Bennett boast of the killings. But the teenager
apparently formally recanted the story shortly thereafter,
and now claims the police pressured him into making that
The Boston police have a history of "stretching
the truth" to accuse the wrong person of murder,
particularly when a black man is involved. There's another
notorious case in the local courts right now, involving the
murder of a police officer during a drug raid. It is clear
that one of about nine people in the crack house that night
shot Sherman Griffiths.
The police have accused Albert Lewin, a
black man, and bolstered their case against him by
stretching the truth. But justice is supposed to be served
when the facts are presented in court and a jury makes a
determination based on those facts. When the police come
down on Griffiths' partner and order him to commit perjury
to bolster the case, where is justice served? Perhaps Albert
Lewin is guilty. But convict him on facts, not on
In many crimes, the police take an
automatic "blame-the-victim" mentality. This tends to be
particularly true of black on black crimes in poor
neighborhoods. Boston had a rash of shootings, many of them
drug-related in Mission Hill and other nearby neighborhoods
over the fall. "It's a dangerous place to be," the police
would say as they put another body in the back of an
ambulance. There was some public outcry when a black
grandmother was killed in her house in a driveby shooting.
But nothing matched the public hysteria of the Stuart case.
The factor of racism cannot be
underestimated in this case. It made the police and media
sloppy, it reinforced the danger of black neighborhoods to a
largely white public, and it made the black community
furious. There have been calls for the police commissioner
to resign, and for black boycotts of both the Boston
Globe and Boston Herald. There are calls for some
sort of state commission to investigate the police and media
handling of the case. It is not clear what will happen
officially as a result of this case. I hope it will make us
all a little more skeptical.
Another important factor in this case is
the way the media made Charles and Carol Stuart out to be
the "perfect couple." After the shooting, everyone said how
much in love they were, how wonderful Carol was, and how
distraught Charles was. But almost as soon as Charles' body
was pulled from the river, a different portrait emerged.
Neighbors commented that Carol often fought with Charles
over his "Friday nights out."
Charles was not looking forward to being
a father. They had a big fight when Carol invited an
insurance agent to their home, because she was concerned
about how much Charles was spending on insurance. She even
commented to friends that she couldn't understand why
Charles had bought so much life insurance on her...
Why didn't any of these stories emerge
earlier? Did people not tell them to reporters, out of
respect for the dead? Or did some reporters hear the stories,
and disregard them because they didn't paint the picture of
Carol and Charles Stuart as the perfect couple?
The Stuart case is one of those instances
where there are more questions than answers. For example:
- Why did the younger Stuart brothers lie for
their brother for over two months?
Matt Stuart told one brother,
Michael, not long after the shooting. Yes, they were
worried about telling their ailing parents, but to the
point of letting their older brother get away with
- Why didn't the fur store owner check on the
location of the fur store gun, when he heard that
one of his employees was involved with a shooting
with just that type of gun?
The fur store owner said that they
only had the gun as an insurance requirement, and never
made the connection until Charles committed suicide.
Indeed, the gun was missing from the safe, and
was later pulled out of the river where Matt Stuart had
- Why weren't the police a little more
skeptical about Charles' story?
Some doctor familiar with the case
said that abdominal wounds like the one Charles had are
often self-inflicted. Because the wound was so serious,
they did not think he shot himself.
- What made Charles Stuart tick?
Charles Stuart was probably a
sociopath. Only a sociopath could lie to his wife and
everyone he knew the way he did, commit murder, and play
the role of distraught husband almost perfectly. This
murder was literally months, if not years in the
planning. He showed no remorse for the murders of his
wife and son. His suicide note only said he did not have
the strength to go on.
Apparently, he wanted the insurance money
to open a restaurant. A few days after his suicide, someone
dug up a commercial the fur store had made. It showed a
smiling Charles Stuart, admiring a model in a fur coat.
It made me want to kick in the TV screen.
Gun That May
Be Stuart's Is Found
By Fox Butterfield, Special to The New York Times
January 10, 1990
Divers found a revolver in a river north of Boston today that
law-enforcement officials believe may be the gun used in October
to kill Carol Stuart, a pregnant Boston woman whose husband
committed suicide last week.
Divers found a revolver in a river north of Boston today that
law-enforcement officials believe may be the gun used in October
to kill Carol Stuart, a pregnant Boston woman whose husband
committed suicide last week.
''It certainly does look promising as the gun that was allegedly
thrown in the river on the night in question,'' said Newman
Flanagan, the Suffolk County District Attorney. ''We're
encouraged in that it corroborates statements that people have
made to the police.''
The police had searched for the weapon since
Mrs. Stuart's husband, Charles, 29 years old, committed suicide
by jumping from a bridge over Boston Harbor last Thursday after
his brother Matthew Stuart implicated him in the Oct. 23 killing.
A spokesman for the Boston Police Department
said the weapon was taken to Washington today for ballistics and
fingerprint tests by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The
tests are expected to take a few days, he said.
Jack DeCourcy, a special agent for the F.B.I.
in Boston, said it was sometimes possible to detect fingerprints
on a gun found in salt water, depending on how long it had been
submerged. The gun was found in the Pines River in Revere, a
suburb north of Boston on the ocean.
Tests on a Bullet
At the same time, investigators are awaiting
the results of ballistics tests on a bullet extracted from
Charles Stuart's body on Thursday to determine whether it
matches the .38-caliber bullet that killed Mrs. Stuart, said a
spokesman for the District Attorney's office, John M. Julian. ''We're
trying to make sure they match,'' he said.
Doctors had not removed the bullet from Mr.
Stuart previously because it was lodged in such a way that
removal would have been risky.
An article in The New York Times last Friday
erred in saying that investigators said the bullets did not
The police have said Charles Stuart told them
that the person who shot him in the stomach and killed his wife
had used a silver handgun, the same type of weapon recovered
today. A lawyer for Matthew Stuart said that on the night of the
killing his client had picked up a snub-nose revolver and Mrs.
Stuart's purse and jewelry by prearrangement with Charles Stuart
and that the rendezvous had been at Charles Stuart's car near
the hospital where he and his wife had just been for a birthing
Matthew Stuart, 23, said he then threw the
revolver and purse from a railroad bridge over the Pines River.
Gun Missing From Store
A law-enforcement official said today that
Charles Stuart might have gotten the gun from a safe at the
Kakas & Sons fur shop on fashionable Newbury Street, where he
was the manager. The co-owner of the shop, Jay Kakas, reported a
silver revolver missing, but only last Friday after Mr. Stuart
The Boston Globe reported today that Mr.
Kakas had bought the gun 10 years ago but had stored it in a
safe and forgotten about it after the store hired its own armed
Reached by telephone today, Edward Kakas, the
other co-owner of the store, said the missing gun was a .38-caliber
revolver, but he would not comment on other questions, including
why neither he nor his brother had reported it missing earlier.
A senior law-enforcement official said today
that the investigation would have been much easier and would not
have incorrectly identified William Bennett, a 38-year-old black
man with a criminal record, as the Stuarts' assailant if the
police had known earlier about the missing gun.
In fact, the official said, he was amazed at
how many people were now coming forward, after Mr. Stuart's
death, with clues that would have facilitated the investigation.
Several relatives or friends of Mr. Stuart, for example, have
now reported that well before the October shooting he had
suggested killing his wife. It has also become clear that
several of Mr. Stuart's three brothers and sisters had known
about his involvement in the killing before Matthew Stuart went
to the police last week.
Life Insurance Policies
A spokesman for the John Hancock Mutual Life
Insurance Company, Richard P. Bevilacqua, said the company had
paid out $82,000 in insurance to Mr. Stuart in December for a
policy that his wife held at the publishing company where she
worked as a lawyer. The payout was made with unusual speed at
the request of Mrs. Stuart's employer, the Cahners Publishing
Company, he said, and the amount was twice her salary, because
her death was considered accidental.
In addition, Mr. Stuart had applied to cash a
$100,000 policy with the Travelers Insurance Company and would
have been paid in the next week or two, said Alan R. Fletcher, a
spokesman for the company.
The police believe there may be more
insurance policies in Mrs. Stuart's name. But law-enforcement
officials said it was very difficult to check this because there
is no central registry of insurance policies.
Police sources have said Deborah Allen, a
graduate student at Babson College who had worked in the fur
store, used Mr. Stuart's telephone credit card to call him while
he was in Boston City Hospital recovering from his bullet wound.
Thomas E. Dwyer Jr., a lawyer for Ms. Allen,
would not discuss the telephone calls today. He has denied there
was any romantic link between Ms. Allen and Mr. Stuart, and he
said today that she never received any jewelry from Mr. Stuart.
There has been speculation in the Boston press that Mr. Stuart
used some of the insurance money to buy a $250 14-karat gold
brooch last week for Mr. Allen.
Mr. Dwyer charged today that the Boston press
''still has not learned its lessons from last fall in dragging
in innocent people.'' He was referring to the widespread reports
in Boston papers that named Mr. Bennett as the chief suspect in
the shootings. Mr. Bennett has since been exonerated by the
District Attorney, but leaders of Boston's black community
contend he was a victim of racism by the police and press.
A Boston Tragedy: The Stuart Case - A Special
Motive Remains a Mystery In Deaths That
Haunt a City
By Fox Butterfield with Constance
The New York Times
January 15, 1990
After dinner at a
restaurant last September, a close
friend says, Charles Stuart complained
that he had noticed something about his
pregnant wife, Carol, that he had never
seen before, ''that she had the upper
hand'' in their marriage.
As the friend, David
F. MacLean, recalled last week, Mr.
Stuart was upset that his wife had
refused to get an abortion and he was
worried that she would not go back to
her job as a lawyer after giving birth,
lowering the couple's income. Mr. Stuart
then made a startling proposal, Mr.
MacLean said. He asked for help in
killing Carol Stuart.
This account by Mr.
MacLean may be the closest anyone can
get to the mind of Mr. Stuart, who the
police now suspect shot and killed his
wife and then seriously wounded himself
in the stomach on Oct. 23 as part of an
elaborate and tragic scheme. Mr.
MacLean's account was given last week in
an interview with WCVB-TV, and he is
believed to have repeated it on Friday
to a grand jury investigating the case.
At the time of the
shootings, Mr. Stuart told the police
that the couple had been attacked by a
black gunman after they left a
childbirth class at a nearby hospital.
His story unleashed racial passions in
Boston and touched off a wave of
national sympathy for Mr. Stuart, his
slain wife and their prematurely
delivered son, Christopher, who died 17
days after the shooting. But on Jan. 4,
12 hours after his youngest brother,
Matthew, told investigators he had taken
part in the incident, Mr. Stuart
apparently leaped to his death from the
Tobin Bridge over the edge of Boston
Much about the case
remains uncertain. But friends,
relatives and law-enforcement officials
now say Mr. Stuart may have been
consumed by his own rapid financial
success. He was a man who had gone from
being a short-order cook in a bar a
decade ago, making $4 an hour, to the
manager of a fur salon on Newbury Street,
earning more than $100,000 last year.
It was a long journey
from his hometown of Revere, a
blue-collar community best known for its
dog track and neighborhood bars, to the
affluent environs of Newbury Street,
with its fashionable boutiques and
crowded restaurants in Boston's Back
Bay. And it was a long passage from the
vocational school where Mr. Stuart
studied culinary arts to his job at the
furrier Kakas & Sons, with a lawyer wife,
a car phone and a slate-blue house in a
comfortable suburb with a swimming pool
But Charles Stuart,
who turned 30 in December, seemed to
hunger for more. Neighbors said he
talked of opening a restaurant, and he
attended a course last spring at the
Boston Center for Adult Education,
called ''Buying and Operating a
Restaurant Successfully,'' an instructor
says. Investigators say that for now
their best guess is that he wanted to
collect on several life insurance
policies held by his wife, which are
known to have amounted to at least
'Not the Chuck I
But even his
relatives are still not sure they
understand how Mr. Stuart, a tall,
handsome, affable man who had never been
in trouble with the law before or
displayed a flair for the imaginative,
could have devised such a bizarre scheme.
''This was not the
Chuck I knew; it must be another Chuck,''
said Stephen F. Reardon, a cousin and co-owner
of Reardon's bar in Revere. ''It must
have been a Chuck with a sick thing
inside of him.''
Dr. Robert Coles, a
psychiatrist at Harvard University and
author of books on moral development,
said that from what he has heard of the
case he believes Mr. Stuart was an
extreme example of a psychopath, an
antisocial personality with little sense
of remorse, a propensity to lie and
often an ability to deceive others into
believing his fantasies.
''In most psychopaths
there is cruelty and callousness, but
Stuart outdoes that,'' Dr. Coles said.
He said the case was
not so much about Boston and its history
of ethnic and racial animosity, as many
people have suggested, as it is about Mr.
Stuart's own personality and perhaps his
family background. The Family A Dark
Role, Even If Unwitting In fact, as
lawyers for members of the Stuart family
have acknowledged, Mr. Stuart's three
brothers and two sisters, as well as
their spouses and friends, either
participated in part of the crime,
wittingly or unwittingly, or learned
about it at various points without
telling the police.
A lawyer for Michael
Stuart, a 27-year-old firefighter, said
last week that Charles Stuart had asked
Michael to help in killing Carol Stuart
''weeks before'' the Oct. 23 shooting.
Michael refused, the lawyer said, but by
Oct. 26 had been told that Charles's
public account was not true by another
brother, Matthew, 23.
John J. Perenyi, a
lawyer for Matthew, has said that his
client had driven into Boston by
prearrangement with Charles Stuart to
meet him near the hospital and picked up
a silver, snub-nose .38-caliber revolver
as well as Carol Stuart's jewelry and
handbag. Matthew thought his brother was
only planning a jewelry insurance scam,
Mr. Perenyi said, although the police
have said Charles Stuart had offered him
$10,000 for his role. Matthew had been
through a ''dry run'' with Charles a few
days before, and there have been reports
from neighbors that Matthew also
participated in an aborted fake burglary
at the Stuart house in Reading, where
Charles may have intended to kill his
wife and make it look like a robbery.
Both Michael and
Matthew were pallbearers at Carol
Stuart's funeral. When Matthew finally
went to the police on Jan. 3, his lawyer
said, ''There wasn't a lot of support in
his family for him going to the
Carl DiMaiti, Carol
Stuart's brother, mused about the Stuart
siblings in an interview with WLVI-TV
last week. ''Can you believe that they
came over to our house to comfort my
parents?'' he asked. ''It is just mind-boggling
that they could sit with us, or allow us
to visit Chuck, to cry over him and pray
for his recovery, knowing that Chuck was
responsible for what happened to Carol.''
The Clues A Life Story, Embellished In
hindsight, there were clues earlier in
his life about Charles Stuart's capacity
He told friends, and
the story made its way into his resume
and later into the Boston papers, that
he had gone to Brown University on a
football scholarship but had dropped out
because of a knee injury and eventually
graduated from Salem State College in
But a spokesman for
Brown said a check of its records
revealed that Mr. Stuart had never even
applied to the school. An official at
Salem State said Mr. Stuart had enrolled
there in September 1979, but dropped out
after two months.
Mr. Stuart may have
wanted to obscure the memory that he
actually went to Northeast Metropolitan
Regional Vocational High School in
Wakefield, north of Boston, a school
that teaches trades like auto repair,
cosmetology and pipe fitting and offers
academic subjects in alternate weeks. By
10th grade, Charles Stuart had chosen
culinary arts, spending every other week
working full time in the school's
kitchen and helping to run its
restaurant, the Breakheart Inn.
Bill Lord, his
instructor, remembers the teen-age Mr.
Stuart as ''an excellent cook who
expressed no interest in going to
college.'' Mr. Lord said Mr. Stuart was
''a good kid.''
''I never ever once
had to send him to the vice principal's
office for misconduct, like you had to
with a lot of kids,'' Mr. Lord said. 'He
Was Very Happy'
Over the years, they
kept in touch, and Mr. Lord said that
last year Mr. Stuart had stopped by the
school one day for lunch. ''He was very
happy because he was making lots of
money and thought he had very good
The teen-age Charles
Stuart was interested in sports, but
contrary to his own account, he never
played football. Instead, he played
baseball and was ''an average fielder
and a poor hitter,'' his former coach,
Dennis Bisso, recalled. He also played
basketball, and was a good shooter but
rather slow, said Dave Barriss, his
Mr. Stuart was born
on Dec. 18, 1959, the son of an
insurance salesman and a part-time
bartender who was ''a natural
entertainer, with a new joke every day,''
recalled Stephen Reardon, his cousin.
The family lived in a modest red Cape
Cod-style house on a dead end street,
and young Chuck and his brothers
attended the Roman Catholic elementary
school run by the Immaculate Conception
When he graduated
from vocational school in 1977, Mr.
Stuart got a job as a cook at a now-defunct
Italian restaurant in Revere, the
Driftwood. It was there that he met
Carol DiMaiti, a Boston College student
who was working as a waitress.
''He was very popular
with the women, and she fell madly in
love with him,'' said Rosemarie Bartolo,
who also worked there at the time. But
Carol's father, Giusto DiMaiti, who was
the bartender in the Driftwood, ''didn't
like him,'' Mrs. Bartolo said. She had
been going out with a boy who was a
college student and, like her, was an
Italian-American, Mrs. Bartolo recalled.
Seen as Quiet and
Like many people who
knew them, she said that where Carol was
outgoing and ''talked about her problems
pretty freely, Chuck was quiet and
reserved, kind of introverted.''
In about 1981 Mr.
Stuart gave up cooking and applied to
Kakas & Sons, the fur store. He told his
teacher, Mr. Lord, that ''he was having
trouble with his legs, standing all day.''
Both Ted and Jay
Kakas, co-owners of the furrier, refused
requests for an interview. But in
October, soon after the shooting, Ted
Kakas told The Boston Globe, ''He was
just an all-round terrific guy. I think
I can say he was loved by all of our
employees.'' The store was closed for
Carol Stuart's funeral because everyone
who worked with Chuck wanted to attend.
To all appearances,
things were going well for Chuck and
Carol. They got married in 1985, bought
a house in Reading, a much more affluent
town than Revere, and after Carol became
pregnant last year, they began buying
baby clothes and furniture. Carol was
due in December.
''Carol was so happy
and sweet,'' said her hairdresser, Mali
Sheikhi, in Newton, near the publishing
company where Carol worked. ''I was
always telling her, 'You never seem to
have any problems.' ''
Complaints by His
It was only after Mr.
Stuart's apparent suicide 10 days ago
that another side surfaced. Maureen
Vajdic, the Stuarts' neighbor,
remembered that Carol had begun
complaining last summer, after she got
pregnant, that Charles was going out on
Friday nights by himself and staying out
At the time, Mr.
Stuart was becoming interested in a 22-year-old
woman who worked in the Kakas shop,
Deborah Allen. Friends say Ms. Allen, a
graduate of Brown University, is
strikingly attractive. They went out for
meals together, and last fall, before
the shooting, she took him on a tour of
her prep school. Mr. Stuart gave her a
pair of sneakers and a sweatshirt.
After the shooting,
Ms. Allen began calling him regularly in
Boston City Hospital, where he lay
recovering from his stomach wound for
six weeks. In a statement made public by
her lawyer, Thomas E. Dwyer, Ms. Allen
said she called at Mr. Stuart's request
and charged the calls to his telephone
credit card. But when Mr. Stuart tried
to turn their relationship into
something more intimate after he was
released from the hospital in December,
Ms. Allen broke it off, Mr. Dwyer said.
If Mr. Stuart's interest in her so soon
after his wife's death raised any
suspicion, she never told anyone. The
Tale The Final Days Of Charles Stuart It
is not known how Mr. Stuart got the idea
that he could successfully deflect
attention from himself by saying the
couple was attacked by a black gunman.
But there had been a series of drug-related
shootings last September and October in
the city's black neighborhoods. ''Chuck
and I had talked about the number of
shootings that had gone on there,'' said
Peter Jaworski, an employee at the fur
upbringing in Revere may also have
played a part. ''Don't discount the way
people think here,'' said a customer at
Reardon's bar. ''Racism is a fact, good
or bad. We divide people up into groups,
and you will notice no blacks live in
But it was Mr.
Stuart's coolness after the shooting
that amazed even his own relatives.
Patrick Reardon, another cousin, said he
was in the hospital room with Mr. Stuart
when the police first questioned him
about the shooting, two days after it
occurred. ''I was boasting to friends
about how good his recall was,'' Mr.
''He went through the
whole thing. They asked him several
times, and he repeated it every time,''
he said. ''He didn't seem to get annoyed.
The way Chuckie had described the
assailant led you to believe that it was
real. He went as far as to describe a
stripe in the sleeve of the running suit
and how the gunman reached into the
inside of his zipper jacket for the gun,
turned and faced him.''
Nor did Mr. Stuart
apparently have trouble composing a
message that was read by a friend, Brian
Parsons, at Carol's funeral. ''Good
night sweet wife, my love. God has
called you to his side,'' he wrote.
Referring to her killer, the message
continued, ''In our souls we must
forgive this sinner because He would
Within two weeks of
being released from the hospital early
last month, Mr. Stuart was buying
women's jewelry, first a $999 pair of
diamond solitaire earrings, later a $250
14-karat gold brooch. ''It struck me as
funny, because why would he be shopping,''
said John White, who sold him the brooch.
''He didn't express any grief at all.''
The police have speculated that the
jewelry was intended for Ms. Allen, but
she has denied receiving any items from
Mr. Stuart told his
relatives he was going to return to his
house in Reading. Socially, if not
emotionally, he had moved from Revere.
He had stopped playing in a Thursday
night basketball league there several
months before his wife's death, and
before that had stopped having drinks
with his teammates at the Speakeasy pub
after games, friends say.
'One Less Traveled
It was as if Mr.
Stuart was living out the poem by Robert
Frost that graced his high school
yearbook - ''The Road Not Taken.'' Two
roads diverged in a wood, and I -I took
the one less traveled by, And that has
made all the difference.
On the last night of
his life, with the police looking for
him, Mr. Stuart checked into the
Sheraton Tara motel in Braintree. He
requested a wake-up call for 4:30 A.M.
Then he drove into Boston, stopped his
car on the bottom level of the Tobin
Bridge, and turned on the hazard lights
on the $22,000 Nissan Maxima he had
bought only two days before. Leaving a
note on the front seat that said he
could not bear the charges against him
but did not make clear his own role, he
got out and propped up the hood.
When the police found
his car at a few minutes before 7, they
were not sure, until they found his
submerged body, that this was not