Suspect in Bedford Murder Charged with Trying ‘to Derail His Prosecution’

March 15, 2023
Natalie Scheublin ~ Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved

The Salem man awaiting trial for a Bedford murder he allegedly committed more than 50 years ago has been indicted “for an array of criminal offenses he committed from behind bars in 2022,” according to a statement from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

Arthur Massei, 77, faces several charges from a grand jury after a months-long investigation. 

“The most serious of these indictments alleges that Massei offered to pay a witness to offer false testimony in order to derail his prosecution for murder,” according to a detailed statement from the district attorney’s office.

Massei was arrested in March 2022 and arraigned on the charge of first-degree murder of Natalie Scheublin who was found bound, beaten, and stabbed to death. Her body was discovered by her husband in the basement of their Pine Hill Road home on June 10, 1971. The husband died in 2011. The couple had two children. 

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Massei was arraigned this week on the new charges and continues to be held without bail pending trial. The next court date in this case is May 3.

“We allege that Arthur Massei took premeditated, purposeful steps to try to obstruct justice by seeking to procure false testimony in his upcoming murder trial,” the district attorney stated.

According to Ryan’s office, “In October of 2022, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Cold Case Homicide Unit, working with detectives from the State Police and Bedford Police Department, learned that the defendant, who was in the custody of the Middlesex sheriff’s office in Billerica, had been communicating by letter with a woman outside the prison.

“The letters revealed an escalating level of threats from Massei toward the recipient of the letters if she did not perform tasks to his satisfaction. Threats included that the defendant would send a third party to do the woman harm and that the defendant himself would get to her ‘like a bullet’.”

The district attorney’s statement said that in letters written by Massei, “investigators discovered that the defendant had asked for assistance recruiting someone who would pretend to be a witness, and who would be willing to testify falsely that she had information that the defendant had been framed for murder.

“Massei allegedly offered to pay $1,000 to a witness who would offer such fictitious testimony, and provided detailed instructions about what the witness should say, including what she had heard, who she had heard it from, and where she was when she heard it.”

The indictments are for solicitation to suborn perjury in a capital case; attempted extortion; and threatening to cause physical injury or death. Massei also was arraigned for solicitation to commit common usury in connection with allegations that Massei, after his arrest for murder, directed others by letter to collect illegal debts.

According to a detailed announcement last year from the DA’s office, advances in technology and dogged investigative work resulted in the arrest, beginning with the discovery right after the murder of the victim’s car which was found in a far corner of a VA Hospital parking area. “Although the car appeared to have been intentionally wiped down to remove fingerprints, police were able to observe and collect several latent fingerprints from it, including one from the right rear window.”

“In 1999, fingerprint examiners from the Massachusetts State Police used a new tool, the FBI’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System…Through AFIS, they were able to identify the defendant as a candidate to review.” Police interviewed the defendant, “who denied ever having been in Bedford or having any knowledge of the murder.”

The DA’s office said her new cold-case unit “refocused on this case” in 2019. “Throughout 2020 and 2021, Massachusetts State Police troopers and Bedford Police detectives carefully examined the case, gathering information about the defendant’s past in an effort to identify new witnesses.”

“During the course of this investigation, they identified a woman who admitted that she had been involved with Massei in schemes to defraud banks in the 1990s. She revealed that Massei habitually carried a knife and had bragged to her about having killed someone with a knife. That information, along with the other facts of the case, was presented to the Middlesex County Grand Jury, which returned an indictment of the defendant for the charge of murder.”

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