Police in Stuart Case Find Gun That Could Be Murder Weapon With AM-Stuart Shooting-Carol Bjt
BOSTON (AP) _ Divers pulled a gun from a river Tuesday, giving investigators hope they have another piece to the puzzle of the Stuart murder mystery.
The registration numbers on the gun recovered from the Pines River matched those on a pistol reported stolen from the fur shop where Charles Stuart worked, The Boston Globe reported in Wednesday edition, citing unidentified sources.
″It certainly does look promising as the gun that was allegedly thrown into the river on the night in question,″ Suffolk County District Attorney Newman Flanagan said earlier. ″We’re encouraged by the evidence in that it corroborates statements that people have made to the police.″
Flanagan said a grand jury would convene Friday to hear witnesses.
On Tuesday night, several hundred people gathered at a church in Mission Hill, the neighborhood where Stuart and his pregnant wife, Carol, were shot Oct. 23, for a service aimed at easing racial tensions.
″Moving on. That’s what the city of Boston is doing here tonight,″ Mayor Raymond Flynn, who helped organize the ecumenical healing service, told the racially mixed crowd at Mission Church.
Stuart, who committed suicide at age 30 Thursday after his brother implicated him in the slaying of his pregnant wife, had claimed he and his wife were shot by a black man. A black man was named as a suspect in the case, but was later cleared.
Since Thursday, police had searched the Pines River in Revere for the .38- caliber, nickel-plated, snub-nose revolver.
Stuart originally told police he and his wife were shot by a mugger who forced his way into their car when they left a hospital birthing class. He was seriously wounded. His wife, Carol, died hours after the shooting, and their premature son, Christopher, delivered by Caesarean, died 17 days later.
But Stuart’s brother, Matthew, told authorities last week that he had met Charles Stuart in the area that night and that his brother passed him his wife’s handbag, which contained some personal items plus a handgun.
Matthew Stuart, 23, told his attorney he was not aware then that Mrs. Stuart or his brother had been shot. He took the bag to Revere and threw it and the gun separately into the river.
Police recovered the handbag the same day Stuart committed suicide.
The gun found Tuesday ″fits the description,″ said Larry Gillis, a spokesman for the Metropolitan District Commission police.
Flanagan said the gun would be sent to the FBI crime laboratory in Washington for tests. Police divers said the gun had begun to rust.
Jack DeCourcy, special agent for the FBI in Boston, said it was 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.
″It is possible. It’d be difficult, but it’s possible,″ DeCourcy said Tuesday.
A .38-caliber gun was reported stolen from the Boston fur store where Charles Stuart was a manager, and Flanagan said the weapon recovered Tuesday was the same type as the one taken from the store.
Jay Kakas, co-owner of the fur store, issued a statement Tuesday saying the store’s gun was unused and stored in the company safe for many years. ″It did not occur to me to make any connection between Chuck Stuart and the gun in the safe until after I heard Chuck Stuart shot his own wife,″ Kakas said.
Flanagan said divers would search for other evidence, but he refused to be more specific.
″We’re looking for additional evidence to corroborate some testimony from one of the individuals that has talked to the police regarding this particular matter,″ he said.
Meanwhile, publishing houses in New York and Boston are receiving proposals from writers who want to recount the grisly tale.
″We’ve heard about at least 10 book proposals being floated,″ James Frost, editor in chief at Warner Books Inc. in New York, said Tuesday. ″I think everybody wants to know what makes the killer tick ... what makes a man murder his pregnant wife.″
He noted the firm’s tie-in with film production companies may be one reason why it has received so many offers.
Little, Brown and Co. of Boston also has reported several proposals.
Police have not disclosed a motive for the crime. Among the theories being investigated are that Charles Stuart was hoping to cash in insurance polices, and that he might have been having an affair with another woman.