My Brother’s Keeper


On January 3, 1990, Matthew Stuart met with detectives from the Boston Police Department. He had quite an incredible story to tell them. He was guilt ridden about a crime that he had played a role in. He had a tough decision to make, turn in his brother or let an innocent man go to jail.

The story began on October 23, 1989, Matthew’s brother Charles Stuart had decided to kill his pregnant wife, Carol Stuart. He had become infatuated with a female co-worker and his wife and expected child were in his way. A plan was hatched to shoot his wife and himself and blame it on a robbery. He just needed someone to take money, jewelry, and the firearm from the scene of the staged crime. That is where Matthew came in. He would be at the staged shooting at take and destroy the evidence. While driving through a bad neighborhood in Boston, Charles fatally shot his wife, shot himself in the stomach, turned the gun, his wallet, and his wife’s jewelry over to his brother, and then called the police. The story he relayed was of a robbery gone bad and described the perp as a male black with a raspy voice who fled after the shooting.

The police didn’t doubt the story. Charles’ injuries were serious and required several surgeries. There didn’t appear to be any financial motive for the murder on Charles’ part. The story became national news and Boston detectives were taking the case very seriously. So seriously in fact, that they found a suspect.

Willie Bennett was known to the Boston Police. He was a black man with a raspy voice. He was brought in an placed in a lineup. The lineup was, at best, poorly administered. The fillers were all clean cut Boston cops. Bennett stuck out like a sore thumb. Charles Stuart had no problem picking the right person to frame. Bennett was arrested. This was a bridge too far for Matthew Stuart. He was already regretting his decision to help with the murder. Sending an innocent man was more than he bargained for.

That is what brought him to an interview room on January 3, 1990. He made a full confession. His information led to the recovery of the gun used in the crime. His brother Charles was now a wanted man. This was more that Charles Stuart bargained for as well. He killed himself by jumping off the Tobin Street Bridge on January 4th. His body was found the next day in the Mystic River.

Christopher Flanagan


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