As the docuseries details, on Oct. 23, 1989, Charles Stuart called 911 and said that he and his pregnant wife Carol had been shot after attending a childbirth class at Boston’s Brigham and Women's Hospital. Charles told police that a "Black man" ran up to their car with a revolver, told them where to drive, and then shot them both.
Carol, who had been shot in the head, died that evening; Their baby, Christopher, was delivered in an emergency procedure and died 17 days later, which resulted in a double homicide case.
With all of this, it’s understandable to have questions about the family, including what happened to Charles Stuart. Here’s what you need to know.
Who was Charles ‘Chuck’ Stuart?
Charles “Chuck” Stuart was a Boston fur store manager who was part of a shooting that rocked Boston in 1989, per The New York Times. As the docuseries explains, Charles was shot in the stomach while his wife was shot in the head. He survived from his injuries.
Charles and Carol met in 1980 while working at a restaurant.
His family was from a working-class community, and both Charles and Carol’s fathers were bartenders, according to The New York Times. Charles was working as a chef at the restaurant, and Carol was working as a waitress.
They married in 1985.
After their wedding, the couple moved to the upscale neighborhood of Reading, according to the Times. They also enjoyed nice things, including Gucci bags, a Jacuzzi, and a car phone (which wasn’t common at the time).
Neighbors told the Times that the couple jogged together and worked together on their landscaping. Charles also coached Little League baseball and once helped a neighbor shovel snow.
He worked as the general manager for Edward Kakas & Sons on Newbury Street.
Charles was the general manager for an upscale fur shop. Carol worked as a lawyer who specialized in taxes. But their relationship wasn't perfect: According to the Times, Charles was “powerfully attracted” to a woman who worked with him at the fur store and at one point, told his friend that he was upset that Carol wouldn't get an abortion.
Did he kill his wife?
Charles wasn’t a suspect in the murder at first. Instead, police believed his version of the story, which was that a Black man with a raspy voice killed his wife and unborn child, and also shot him. A 39-year-old Black man named William "Willie" Bennett was eventually named as the prime suspect in the murders, per the Boston Globe. He had a prior criminal record and was arrested by police on an unrelated charge. Charles went so far as to pick out Bennett from the lineup of suspects
The police had picked up several subjects who were cleared before arresting William "Willie" Bennett, a Black man with a long criminal record on an unrelated charge. The doc explains that Charles even went so far as to identify Bennett as the suspect in a lineup, the doc explains.
However, the case soon took a turn when Charles was named as the prime suspect in the murder after a witness came forward in early 1990.
He asked his brother for help.
Charles’ brother Matthew went to police in January 1990 and said that his brother told him he planned to commit insurance fraud to cash in on Carol’s life insurance policy, per the Times.
According to Matthew, he went to a designated meeting spot and discovered that Charles and Carol had been shot. He got rid of the gun, Carol’s purse, and their wedding rings.
A gun had also been stolen from a safe at the fur store where Charles worked and, according to the Tampa Bay Times, it’s believed to be the weapon Charles used to kill his wife.
What happened to Charles Stuart?
Charles learned that his brother had gone to police and quickly spoke with his lawyer, John Dawley, the Times says. His body was found in the Mystic River the next day. Dawley previously said that would not comment on whether Charles had confessed to him, but said that "after 7 P.M. on Jan. 3 we no longer represented Charles Stuart," per the Times.
Charles was never arrested for the crime, and while he wrote a suicide note, it didn't contain a confession (he wrote only that he was "beaten" by "the new accusations"), per The Associated Press.
You can watch Murder in Boston streaming now on Max.
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