Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

December 12, 2013

Two years later, couple's murder remains a mystery

By Dustin Luca
dluca@andovertownsman.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Tuesday, the Essex County District Attorney’s office and Andover Police Department issued a joint statement saying the investigation “remains active and a high priority.

“We will continue to pursue every lead until we find the person or persons responsible for this tragic murder and seek justice for the Magee family in court,”District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in the statement.

Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe, who assumed the position this past August following Pattullo’s retirement, said his department, along with Blodgett’s office, “is determined to find those responsible for this horrific act.

“This remains a top priority with all agencies involved and we continue to investigate all leads and angles of this senseless murder,” he said.

Authorities are renewing their appeal to the public for their help.

“We continue to request that anyone with any information or possible information in this incident to come forward and contact one of the agencies involved,” Keefe said.

In the days leading to his retirement, Pattullo expressed disappointment that the case wasn’t solved on his watch and that he was leaving Keefe with it unsolved. But he also assured the investigation was ongoing.

“It is not a cold case,” he said at the time. “It was a tragedy that is being actively worked.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

While life for the family goes on, Greene said they remain hopeful some resolution to the case will soon come to light.

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

Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to contact the Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office at 978-745-8908 or the Andover police anonymous tip line at 978-470-3864.