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Divers Recover Weapon from River in Stuart Case

January 9, 1990

BOSTON (AP) _ Divers searching for the revolver used in the wounding of Charles Stuart and the killing of his pregnant wife found a gun today in the river where Stuart’s brother said he dumped it, police said.

″It fits the description,″ said police spokesman Larry Gillis. ″Hopefully a major piece of the puzzle has fallen into place.″

Police had searched for the gun since Charles Stuart, 29, committed suicide Thursday. Stuart jumped from a Boston Harbor bridge after his brother Matthew implicated him in the slaying of Carol Stuart, whose premature baby died 17 days later.

Investigators were expected to perform ballistics tests to see if is the murder weapon.

FBI agent Jack DeCourcy said it is possible to detect fingerprints on a gun found in salt water, depending on how long it was submerged, how rusty it was and whether it was found in silt.

Stuart, who is white, originally told police he and his wife were shot by a black mugger who forced his way into their car Oct. 23 as they left a childbirth class. Police listening to Stuart’s pleas for help over his car phone found him and his dying wife by listening to their sirens over the phone.

Matthew Stuart, 23, told authorities last week that he took Mrs. Stuart’s handbag, which contained personal items and the gun, from the scene of the shootings and threw the items separately into the Pines River in Revere.

Police found the bag Thursday, but the gun had remained a missing clue in the effort to unravel the baffling and racially inflammatory case.

Jay Kakas, co-owner of the fur store where Charles Stuart worked, told police a revolver was stolen from the shop’s safe, a representative of the store, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Monday. Investigators refused to comment on that report and on rumors of insurance or a romantic relationship as motives.

Matthew Stuart also has refused to comment, but his attorney, John J. Perenyi, said his client told family members and friends about the plot.

″There wasn’t a lot of support in the family for going to authorities,″ Perenyi said.

A brother of Mrs. Stuart said he was appalled that the Stuart family might have joined his family in grieving while keeping secret their knowledge of a murder scheme.

″Can you believe that they came to our house to comfort my parents? That is just mind boggling, that they could sit with us, or allow us to visit Chuck,″ Carl DiMaiti, Carol Stuart’s brother, told WLVI-TV.

DiMaiti said his family believed Charles was a victim until the shocking revelations about the case that followed his suicide.

″It was such a convincing story and he was such a pitiful victim,″ DiMaiti said. ″He had lost his wife, he had lost his child. They seemed to have a perfect relationship,″ DiMaiti said.

″You know, for us to cry over Chuck, to pray for Chuck’s recovery, knowing that Chuck was responsible for what happened to Carol. It’s just unbelievable.″

Prosecutors, meanwhile, questioned another brother of Charles Stuart on Monday, as they continued to investigate who else knew about the killing.

Michael Stuart met with investigators from the district attorney’s office. His lawyer, Richard Clayman, declined to discuss the details of the questions, but he added that his client broke no law.

Clayman said he could not discuss what Michael Stuart told him, but he noted: ″I think it’s reasonable to conclude there was a terrible family dilemma that existed.″

Legal scholars say that under state law, people who might have suspected Charles Stuart as the killer had no legal obligation to report that to police.

In Massachusetts, ″persons are criminally culpable for what they do, for their acts, not for what they know,″ said Frank Chubert, a professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University.

Prosecutors, citing a continuing grand jury investigation, declined to say whether more charges will be brought.

Members of the black community, who have denounced what they say was a racist investigation into the case, met to discuss a proposed civilian panel to evaluate police conduct.

During the investigation, police searched scores of black residences and identified at least two black suspects.

Meanwhile, Stuart’s casket has been placed in the ground at Woodlawn Cemetery in suburban Everett, where a memorial service was held for him Saturday.

The grave, covered with sheets of plywood and a canvas tarpaulin, was marked only with a stick, plot No. 1443 written on it.

Several plastic pots, holding wilted red roses and white carnations, lay on their sides.

Update hourly