Charles and Willie

I never knew her name, but I knew she worked in the cafeteria. We talked about a wide range of topics, including (and possibly mainly) the weather. A week or so earlier, we had an especially interesting conversation.

“He’s my nephew, you know.”


“That Bennett boy. We live on the same street. We’re blood, and I know him as well as I know anybody, and I can tell you he didn’t do it.”

She was talking about Willie Bennett, who had just a few days before that conversation been picked out of a lineup as the killer of Carol DiMaiti Stewart.

… a new post at Quiche Moraine …


  1. #1 Julie Stahlhut
    February 18, 2009

    That brings back memories. At the time of the Stuart murder, I was working in the MIS department at Harvard Medical School. The site where Charles Stuart claimed that he and his wife were attacked was right behind the complex that included the medical school campus and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

    A couple of months later, some of the spouses and families of my co-workers were still literally afraid to come to that part of the city in broad daylight to go to the office Christmas party. To those of us who worked there, this made no sense; yes, the neighborhood abutting that side of campus was a poor one, but the typical crime in that neighborhood that affected a member of the medical community was usually some resident getting relieved of his wallet while trudging home from a late shift after midnight. I certainly had no fear of walking down the street there during the day to run an errand at the drugstore (either before or after the Stuart shooting.) But for a few months after the murder, it was almost as though white suburbanites expected the neighborhood to burst into open race and class war. It was all really venomous for a while. Besides being a murderer, Charles Stuart caused a racially charged situation of fear and distrust that plagued the city for a long time.

    Sadly, the same night that Carol Stuart was killed, there was another domestic-violence murder in the same neighborhood. The victim and killer were neither white nor rich, and the poor woman’s death got barely a mention in the back pages of the papers.

  2. #2 Brian X
    February 18, 2009

    I don’t really remember what I thought at the time, having been in high school. I can say that my dad was a cop at the time and the scuttlebutt in the local law enforcement community was that Carol DiMaiti Stuart was Connected and that Charles’ swan dive off the Tobin Bridge may have been “assisted”. (Considering the Tobin is still the tallest bridge in the area, Stuart most likely had a couple of extra seconds to contemplate the results of his actions, assisted or not…)