Suspect in 1971 killing in Massachusetts held without bail

The man charged in the 1971 killing of a Massachusetts mother has a long criminal record and a general disdain for the justice system, the prosecutor said Wednesday in arguing that the suspect be detained without bail.

Other than saying “not guilty,” Arthur Louis Massei, 76, did not speak at his arraignment in Middlesex Superior Court on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the killing more than 50 years ago of Natalie Scheublin in her Bedford home. He was held without bail.

His court-appointed attorney did not address the specifics of the case but asked that bail be set without prejudice so it can be revisited in the future.

Scheublin, 54, a mother of two, was found by her husband in the basement of their home on June 10, 1971, prosecutors said.

Prosecutor David Solet, the chief of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office cold case unit, told the judge that she was found bound around the ankles, face down, had multiple stab wounds, and had suffered a severe blow to the head from a blunt object.

Massei had long been a person of interest in the case, Solet said. He once told police he had been solicited by an organized crime figure to kill the victim for a fee, but had turned down the offer. He told police in a 2005 interview that he learned that a cousin had carried out the killing, and gave police details that confirmed his involvement, Solet said.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said Tuesday that there was no evidence that anyone had ever put out a contract on the victim.

Massei has a long record of criminal convictions and prison sentences, has assaulted corrections officers, has twice been convicted of escape, and as recently as 2016 was convicted of violating court orders involving harassment and abuse, Solet said.

“It appears that he has never been willing abide by court orders and cannot be expected to abide by conditions under these circumstances,” he said.

Massei was arrested at his Salem home on Tuesday based in large part on a 50-year-old fingerprint found in the victim’s car and information from a recently identified witness who said Massei once told her that he had killed someone using a knife.

The fingerprint was lifted from the victim’s car, which was found in the parking lot of a nearby Veteran’s Administration hospital shortly after the killing. Using updated technology not available in 1971, the fingerprint was linked to Massei in 1999, prosecutors said.

Scheublin’s children have been informed of the arrest and have asked for privacy, Ryan said.

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