After more than 50 years, authorities say they finally charged a Massachusetts man for murdering a bank president’s wife.
Arthur Louis Massei, 76, was already on law enforcement radar going back years because of a latent fingerprint found on the car of victim Natalie Scheublin, 54. Investigators said the brought the case to a grand jury after a woman recently told them the defendant bragged about once killing someone with a knife.
“This is a very bittersweet day,” said Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan in a press conference Tuesday.
Massei, a resident of Salem, Massachusetts, was indicted for first-degree murder.
Natalie’s husband Raymond Scheublin returned to their Bedford home in the early evening June 10, 1971 to find her face down in the basement, her ankles bound, and a makeshift gag tied around her neck, the D.A.’s office said. Investigators said she was stabbed and beaten to death. Cops arrived in minutes and determined she had only been dead for a short whole. Natalie Scheublin’s blue and white 1969 Chevrolet Impala was taken, but police found it less than a half mile away in the parking lot of a V.A. hospital. Officers said it seemed to have been wiped down intentionally for fingerprints, but they were able to find several prints on it, including one from the right rear window. They were not able to find any suspects at the time, however.
That changed almost 30 years later, however. Investigators claimed they were able to find Massei using this print, but in their account, he claimed he turned down an organized crime request to murder a bank’s wife and make it look like a break-in. Raymond Scheublin was president of Lexington Trust Bank. Investigators said they found no evidence that this husband was involved in a plot to kill his wife.
“In 1999, fingerprint examiners from the Massachusetts State Police used a new tool, the FBI’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), to attempt to identify the fingerprint found on the Impala and the other latent fingerprints found at the crime scene,” the D.A.’s office wrote. “Through AFIS, they were able to identify the defendant as a candidate to review. Subsequent analysis of that print by a State Police fingerprint expert confirmed that the latent print recovered from the victim’s vehicle matched the defendant’s left thumb. Police interviewed the defendant, who denied ever having been in Bedford or having any knowledge of the murder. Over the course of the investigation of the case, the defendant was interviewed again, at which time he allegedly claimed that he had been solicited by an organized crime associate to murder the wife of a banker and to make the murder look like a break-in.”
A pivotal break in the case happened when authorities reviewed Massei’s past in 2020 and 2021. They said they found a woman who told them she worked with him in the 1990s in plots to defraud banks. According to officers, she said that Massei bragged to her about killing someone with a knife. Ryan noted this account and the fingerprint on the car when a reporter asked Tuesday about the evidence that resulted in Massei’s arrest. She described this murder as an apparently random act. Massei had no known connection to the Scheublin family, she said.
“We have nothing to suggest that it wasn’t random,” she said.
Bedford Police Chief Ken Fong voiced hope that this arrest will bring closure to Natalie Scheublin’s family. Ryan said much the same.
“Today, we were able to tell her son and daughter that we were finally able to take the first step in holding the alleged perpetrator accountable for her death,” Ryan said. “This situation is exactly what we envisioned when we created our Cold Case Unit in 2019. In this case, our prosecutors, Massachusetts State Police troopers and Bedford Police detectives pored over old documents and developed information to reach this result. This indictment is the culmination of years of investigative work and I am truly grateful to all of our law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly to ensure that we could get to this day and provide some answers to Natalie’s grieving family.”
[Image via Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office]
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