35 years ago, Fred Harris and his son were found dead and bound in their Connecticut home. A man has just been convicted.
Thirty-five years after a man and his adult son were found with their throats slashed in their Connecticut home, a longtime suspect was convicted Tuesday in the killings, prosecutors said. Willie McFarland was found guilty of murder in the deaths of Fred and Greg Harris, New Haven prosecutors said.
Messages were sent to McFarland’s lawyers. The 55-year-old faces sentencing Jan. 31.
Fred Harris, 59, and Greg Harris, 23, were found, dead and bound, in an upstairs bedroom in their Hamden home on Aug. 27, 1987.
Greg Harris had freed himself and tried to escape, but McFarland caught him, tied him up again and sexually assaulted him, The New York Times reported, citing the police affidavit.
Capt. Ronald Smith of the Hamden police told the newspaper the murders were “bone-chilling.”
“Any murder is horrific, but this was over the top,” he told The Times.
McFarland quickly became a suspect and was questioned soon after the killings. But for years, authorities had no physical evidence to link him to the crime, though they continued to look, conducting DNA testing around 2006.
Then, in 2018, a new round of DNA testing on a glove found at the scene found that it was “at least 1.5 million times more likely” than not that McFarland was one of four contributors, authorities said at the time.
He was arrested in 2019.
“In utilizing innovative investigative techniques, advances in forensic science, and the determination to hold perpetrators of horrendous crimes accountable, today’s jury verdict is the result of a 35-year quest by dedicated investigators and prosecutors who never gave up their search for justice for the victims of these horrendous crimes,” State’s Attorney John Doyle Jr. said in a release.