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Charles STUART

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "Chuck"
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: To collect insurance money - Inflamed racial tension by blaming a non-existent black suspect
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: October 23, 1989
Date of birth: December 18, 1959
Victim profile: Carol DiMaiti, 30 (his pregnant wife)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Status: Committed suicide jumping from the Tobin Bridge to his death on January 4, 1990
 
 

 
 

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Charles Stuart (1959-January 4, 1990) was a Boston man who murdered his pregnant wife and inflamed racial tension by blaming a non-existent black suspect.

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 Hospital.

According to 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.

Stuart blamed 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 lineup.

The case 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 difficulties.

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.

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.

He was 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 assailant.

Murders

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 insurance fraud.

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 recovered.

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.

Suicide

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.

Cultural references

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 Ghetto.

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.

Wikipedia.org


Illusion and Tragedy Coexist After a Couple Dies

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 shovel snow.

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 comprehend.

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 when.

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 events.

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 next door.

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 Marchand.

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.


Charles Stuart, Puppetmaster

A Look Back at a Notorious Boston Murder with Racist Overtones

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 once.

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 his record.

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 shooting.

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 statement.

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 fantasy.

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 murder?

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 thrown it.

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 match.

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 class.

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 committed suicide.

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 security.

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 Case

Motive Remains a Mystery In Deaths That Haunt a City

By Fox Butterfield with Constance L. Hays

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 Harbor.

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 and Jacuzzi.

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 $182,000.

'Not the Chuck I Knew'

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 authorities.''

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 to embellish.

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 Salem, Mass.

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 prospects.''

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 basketball coach.

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 Church nearby.

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 Reserved

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 Wife

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 late.

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 store.

Mr. Stuart's 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 Revere.''

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. Reardon said.

Repeated Details of Shooting

''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 too.''

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.

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 By'

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 another hoax.
 

 

 
 
 
 
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