WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Winchester Chief of Police Peter MacDonnell have announced that Matthew McAveeney, 48, of Winchester, pled guilty today in Middlesex Superior Court to first-degree murder, assault and battery on a person over the age of 60 and two counts of animal cruelty, in connection with the 2014 death of the defendant’s 70-year-old mother, Barbara McAveeney, of Winchester.
Judge Laurence Pierce sentenced the defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole on the charge of first degree murder. Judge Pierce also sentenced the defendant to 4-5 years in State Prison on the charges of animal cruelty and assault and battery on a person over the age of 60.
“With today’s plea Matthew McAveeney has taken responsibility for brutally beating his mother to death before fleeing the state,” said District Attorney Ryan. “We are grateful to all the law enforcement agencies that worked together to bring the defendant into custody and to return him to Massachusetts and we hope that today’s plea brings some closure to the friends and loved ones of Barbara McAveeney.”
Winchester Chief of Police Peter MacDonnell added, “I applaud the work of the Winchester Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in bringing a final resolution to this case and justice for Barbara McAveeney.”
On October 14, 2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Winchester Police responded to a report of a deceased individual found in an apartment on Swanton Street in Winchester. Upon arrival authorities discovered the body of Barbara McAveeney, with whom the defendant was residing, as well as two dead cats, “Pumpkin” and “Puffy,” belonging to the victim. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head. The Medical Examiner’s findings indicated that the victim had been deceased for approximately two weeks prior to the discovery of her remains.
On October 13, 2014, a building manager requested entry into Barbara McAveeney’s apartment for repairs. The defendant asked the building manager to return at a later time. The following day, the building manager returned and when the defendant did not answer, the landlord and building manager unlocked the front door to discover the body of Barbara McAveeney and no sign of the defendant. A search warrant for the premises was executed and authorities discovered through video footage and witness interviews that during the days leading up to the defendant fleeing the state, the defendant had been removing furniture and other material evidence from the apartment and placing it in the apartment complex’s dumpsters.
The defendant fled Massachusetts and was apprehended in Belmont, North Carolina on October 21, 2014 and returned to the Commonwealth on October 22.
This case was investigated by Massachusetts State Police Assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the Winchester Police Department. The Belmont, North Carolina Police Department assisted in returning the defendant to Massachusetts.
The prosecutors assigned to this case were Assistant District Attorney John McEvoy and Assistant District Attorney Jessica Noble. The Victim Witness Advocate was Lori Riccio.