Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

December 12, 2013

Waiting and hoping for answers on Magee murders


The Andover Townsman

---- — Two years have passed since Andover grandparents John and Geraldine Magee were found shot to death, execution style, in their million-dollar home on Orchard Crossing.

Their daughter found her parents dead when she showed up the morning of Dec. 14, 2011 to drop their grandchildren off for them to baby-sit.

News of their murder hit hard in the upscale neighborhood, which the Magee family’s construction business had developed, and throughout the community.

At once, authorities were quick to rule out that the killings were random — there was no sign of forced entry and nothing was stolen from the home. They quickly sought to set the public’s mind at ease that they should not fear for their safety.

But while it follows then that the suspects were somehow known or connected to the couple, there has been little else said about the circumstances of their murders and who may have wanted them dead.

One year into the case, the Essex County District Attorney’s office and Andover Police Department appealed to the public for any information that could potentially lead to some answers.

It appears they heard little, because this week they renewed that same request while also reiterating that the two agencies are still actively investigating the double homicide.

Retired Police Chief Brian Pattullo and current Police Chief Patrick Keefe both refute that the case has gone cold. And District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett assured that 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,” Blodgett said in this week’s statement.

That may be. But Blodgett nor anyone else in his office were taking interviews on the case. And Blodgett again said “specific details about the investigation cannot be released at this time.”

It’s hard to imagine that anyone in the general public with information hasn’t come forward by now. And it at least appears that those who may have details are not inclined to share them.

Perhaps if some of those details came to light — some background or clues as to potential motive — it might offer some ideas of what areas law enforcement authorities are looking into and lead someone to perhaps be able to connect the dots.

On the one-year anniversary last year, a local crime expert said about one-third of murders — whether committed by an acquaintance or a stranger — are never solved.

But he did say without warning, police can receive a random call or tip that blows the case wide open. The thinnest thread can unravel the entire puzzle, he said.

“It’s also possible that somebody will get arrested for something else and they say, ‘I have information.’ Loyalties become strained,” said Larry Siegel, a criminology author and criminal justice professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, speaking generally about murder investigations.

Let’s hope that happens with the Magee killings. Until then, all their family can do is wait and hope that someone who knows something decides to come clean.

An arrest or arrests in the case won’t change the outcome. The Magee family has lost their parents and grandparents. But in all criminal cases, solving the case provides closure. And without closure, the unanswered questions will continue to haunt not only John and Geraldine Magee’s relatives — but the community — which will always feel a little uneasy knowing that two residents were killed so brutally in the privacy of their own Andover home.