District Attorney Announces New Indictments of Man Charged in 1971 Cold Case Murder
BEDFORD – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today that after a months-long investigation, a Middlesex Grand Jury has indicted Arthur Massei, 77, for an array of criminal offenses he committed from behind bars in 2022, following his arrest for the 1971 murder of Natalie Scheublin in her Bedford home. These crimes include Solicitation to Suborn Perjury in a Capital Case; Attempted Extortion; Solicitation to Commit Usury; and Threatening to Cause Physical Injury or Death. 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.
In October of 2022, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Cold Case Homicide Unit, working with detectives from the Massachusetts 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”.
“With these indictments today, 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. We take allegations of intimidation and threats very seriously and these additional charges reflect that,” said District Attorney Ryan.
In reviewing the letters he had authored, 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.
Massei also directed multiple outside parties to collect on loansharking debts he was owed. The investigation further revealed that prior to his arrest in March 2022, the defendant had loaned money to parties at interest rates far beyond the amounts allowed by state law – with some of the loans involving 100% interest after only a single month. After his arrest on the murder charge, the defendant allegedly directed others by letter to collect on these illegal debts, including instructing the recipient of one of his letters to approach a loansharking victim as soon as she received her government check, before the victim could spend the money on herself.
Arthur Massei was arrested March 22, 2022 and charged with the murder of Natalie Scheublin, who had been bound, beaten and stabbed to death in the basement of her Bedford home on June 10, 1971. The murder had gone unsolved for more than fifty years. He was arraigned in the Middlesex Superior Court on March 22, 2022 on a charge of First Degree Murder, and is currently held without bail pending trial. He was arraigned yesterday on the new charges. The next date in this case is May 3, 2023.
This case was investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Homicide Unit, the Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office; the Bedford Police; and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office. The prosecutors assigned to this case are David Solet, the Chief of the Cold Case Homicide Unit, and Senior Appellate Counsel Jamie Charles.