Arthur Massei Found Guilty in 1971 Murder of Natalie Scheublin

Natalie Scheublin

From the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office:

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Bedford Police Chief John Fisher announced on Wednesday that almost 53 years after the crime occurred, Arthur L. Massei, 78, of Salem, has been convicted of first-degree murder for the June 10, 1971 killing of Natalie Scheublin.

A Middlesex Superior Court jury also convicted Massei of Solicitation to Suborn Perjury in the Trial of a Capital Indictment after investigators in 2022 thwarted his attempt to pay a witness to testify falsely that he had been framed for the crime.

“Natalie Scheublin was a wife, a mother, and a cancer survivor who loved gardening and painting. She was brutally murdered by a stranger in her own home,” said Ryan. “For more than 50 years, this case went unsolved. Today’s verdict is the culmination of years of investigative work and exemplifies the core mission of my Cold Case Unit – providing answers to families,” said Ryan. “Not only are our prosecutors committed to solving these cases, but that we can and will hold people accountable, regardless of the passage of time.”

In the early evening of Thursday, June 10, 1971, Raymond Scheublin, the President of the Lexington Trust Bank (on The Great Road at the time), returned from work to find the body of his wife, Natalie Scheublin, 54, in the basement of their Bedford home. She was face down on the floor, her ankles bound with a makeshift gag tied around her neck. Scheublin immediately contacted the Bedford Police Department, whose officers arrived within minutes.

Based on the state of her body, it appeared that Mrs. Scheublin had only been dead for a short time. An autopsy subsequently determined that Mrs. Scheublin had been stabbed with a knife multiple times and struck with an unidentified object, causing a massive blunt force injury to her skull.

The investigation revealed that a set of bank keys was missing, and that Mrs. Scheublin’s automobile, a blue and white 1969 Chevrolet Impala, had been taken. Police canvassed the area, interviewed neighbors, and looked for the missing vehicle.

At 8:42 p.m., police located the Impala in the parking lot of the nearby Veteran’s Administration Hospital, less than half a mile away from the murder scene. 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. Police pursued dozens of potential leads, but no suspect could be identified.

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 fingerprints found on the Impala and other latent fingerprints found at the crime scene.

Through AFIS, they were able to identify Arthur L. Massei as a potential suspect. Subsequent analysis of that print by two Massachusetts State Police fingerprint experts confirmed that the latent print recovered from the victim’s vehicle matched Massei’s left thumb.

Police interviewed Massei in 2000, but he denied ever having been in Bedford or having any knowledge of the murder.

In 2005, when police re-interviewed Massei, he changed his story, claiming 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, but that he had refused the solicitation. 

In 2019, the Cold Case Unit created by Ryan reexamined the case, gathering information about the defendant’s past in an effort to identify new witnesses. During the course of this wide-ranging investigation, detectives identified a woman who admitted that she had been involved with Massei in schemes to defraud banks in the 1990s. She revealed that Massei had admitted to her that he had organized crime connections, and that he had once stabbed someone to death in their home. That information, along with the other facts of the case, was presented to the Middlesex County Grand Jury, which returned an indictment of Massei for first-degree murder.

While he was in custody for the murder charge, Massei attempted to procure a witness to give false testimony at his trial, offering a $1,000 cash payment if the witness would falsely claim that he had been framed for the murder in an effort to derail the prosecution.

Working with the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, investigators were able to thwart the plot, and prosecutors brought an additional charge for Solicitation to Suborn Perjury in the Trial of a Capital Indictment. That charge was joined for trial along with the indictment alleging first degree murder.

On Wednesday, after three days of deliberation, a Middlesex jury convicted Arthur Massei in connection with Natalie Scheublin’s murder. Massei will be sentenced on May 31 in Middlesex Superior Court.

This case was investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Unit, Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, and Bedford Police Department detectives, with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Essex District Attorney’s Office, Salem, MA Police, and members of the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section.

The prosecutors assigned to this case were Assistant District Attorney David Solet, the Chief of the Cold Case Homicide Unit; and Assistant District Attorney Jamie Charles, Senior Appellate Counsel. 

The assigned Victim Witness Advocate was Anne Foley, and the assigned paralegal was Carli Schipelliti.

Raymond Scheublin did not live long enough to see this case come to a close. He passed away in Maine on Dec. 30, 2011 after a brief illness. He was 92. Raymond and Natalie are survived by their two children, Carol A. Bartlett and Kenneth Scheublin.

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Natalie Osaki
May 16, 2024 2:52 pm

Thank you for the update. Being out of state, I was wanting to follow this case. I appreciate your coverage.

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