The man charged in the 1971 killing of a Massachusetts mother has a long criminal record and a general disdain for the justice system, the prosecutor said Wednesday in arguing that the suspect be detained without bail.
Other than saying “not guilty,” Arthur Louis Massei, 76, did not speak at his arraignment in Middlesex Superior Court on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the killing more than 50 years ago of Natalie Scheublin in her Bedford home. He was held without bail.
His court-appointed attorney did not address the specifics of the case but asked that bail be set without prejudice so it can be revisited in the future.
Raymond Scheublin, who was the president of Lexington Trust Bank at the time, returned home from work to find his wife’s body in the basement on June 10, 1971 CBS Boston reported. The mother of two had been stabbed multiple times and struck with an unknown object, which caused a massive blunt force injury to her head, prosecutors said.
Prosecutor David Solet, the chief of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office cold case unit, told the judge that she was found bound around the ankles, face down, had multiple stab wounds, and had suffered a severe blow to the head from a blunt object.
Massei had long been a person of interest in the case, Solet said. He once told police he had been solicited by an organized crime figure to kill the victim for a fee, but had turned down the offer. He told police in a 2005 interview that he learned that a cousin had carried out the killing, and gave police details that confirmed his involvement, Solet said.
“He claimed in this interview in 2005 that he had subsequently learned from his cousin that his cousin had in fact carried out the murder and gave police close detail of how this had allegedly come to pass, far from exculpating him, this confirmed in fact that the print was his,” Solet said.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said Tuesday that there was no evidence that anyone had ever put out a contract on the victim.
Massei has a long record of criminal convictions and prison sentences, has assaulted corrections officers, has twice been convicted of escape, and as recently as 2016 was convicted of violating court orders involving harassment and abuse, Solet said.
“It appears that he has never been willing abide by court orders and cannot be expected to abide by conditions under these circumstances,” he said.
Massei was arrested at his Salem home on Tuesday based in large part on a 50-year-old fingerprint found in the victim’s car and information from a recently identified witness who said Massei once told her that he had killed someone using a knife.
The fingerprint was lifted from the victim’s car, which was found in the parking lot of a nearby Veteran’s Administration hospital shortly after the killing. Using updated technology not available in 1971, the fingerprint was linked to Massei in 1999, prosecutors said.
Scheublin’s children have been informed of the arrest and have asked for privacy, Ryan said.
“We couldn’t believe it, we had our own opinions on different things, why it was her. I don’t think she had any enemies,” Scheublin’s friend, Bobbie Ennis, told CBS Boston. “She was quiet but real, a real person and very easy to talk to.”
CBS Boston reported that Alison Young now lives in the home where Scheublin was killed more than 50 years ago. She said her family only knew some basic details about what happened to Scheublin decades earlier when the house was under different ownership.
“It was crazy to find out when I was younger too to find out that kind of thing happened in our house. It’s good to know the person is behind bars now,” she said. “Definitely a little weird just to know everything that happened in those walls.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism