NEWTON – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Newton Chief of Police David MacDonald have announced that James Brescia, 59, of Waltham, pleaded guilty today in Middlesex Superior Court to second- degree murder in connection with the 2006 shooting death of Edward Schiller, 39, of Framingham. Following a trial, the defendant pled prior to the jury reaching a verdict. Brescia had previously been convicted on charges of murder and conspiracy in June of 2008. In May of 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court granted the defendant’s motion for a new trial.
Judge Laurence Pierce sentenced the defendant to life with the possibility of parole.
“What cannot be forgotten in this case is that no monetary value can be placed on a human life,” said District Attorney Ryan. “The defendant felt that if he paid enough money, if he worked to conceal his actions, he would be able to get away with the murder of Edward Schiller without consequence. While no prison sentence can ever make up for the profound loss of Ed Schiller, it is our sincerest hope that this plea will bring some comfort to those who knew and loved him.”
On January 13, 2006, at approximately 7:45 a.m. Edward Schiller was shot while sitting in his car in his office parking lot on Boylston Street in Newton. When co-workers became concerned that the victim had not arrived for work they checked the lot and at approximately 9:30 a.m. they discovered the body of the victim. He had sustained a single gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene. None of the victim’s valuables had been taken from the car. Newton Police and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office immediately began an investigation.
Authorities learned that the victim had recently rekindled a relationship with his former girlfriend, who was also the defendant’s estranged wife. Investigators were informed that the defendant’s wife had initiated divorce proceedings in the spring of 2005 and served him with divorce papers in July of 2005. The defendant had moved out of the couple’s Marlborough home. Police immediately suspected that James Brescia was involved in Schiller’s death. Investigators confirmed that the defendant had been at his office at the time of the shooting.
A subsequent search of the defendant’s trash cans resulted in authorities discovering receipts for pre-paid calling cards purchased with the defendant’s credit card as well as a box that had contained binoculars. By tracing the locations of calls made on the calling cards to payphones, investigators were able to determine that the cards had been used to contact Scott Foxworth, 65, of Dracut.
Detectives determined in the course of the investigation that Brescia received Foxworth’s contact information from his coworker at Raytheon in Andover, and that beginning in September of 2005 through January of 2006, Brescia was communicating with Scott Foxworth to work out a financial arrangement for Foxworth to carry out the murder of Edward Schiller. The defendant was aware that Foxworth had previously been convicted of second-degree murder and had recently been released from prison on firearms charges.
Brescia had made numerous comments to his estranged wife that, “it won’t be good for Ed’s health if he kept seeing her” and that if something happened to Schiller, “it will never be tied to me because someone else will do it”. Additionally, Brescia had paid for an online service that provided the home address of the victim, enlisted the help of a private investigator to follow the victim and had been watching the victim and his estranged wife in the months leading up to the murder. The defendant had also made statements that if the victim was no longer alive the defendant would be able to reconcile with his wife.
After obtaining the cell phone records of Scott Foxworth, detectives determined that Foxworth was surveilling the victim’s home and office and observing the victim’s daily routine. Foxworth knew where the victim parked his car each morning and what time the victim arrived at his office. A red Ford Taurus, owned by Foxworth was seen by witnesses in the parking lot the morning that Schiller was shot. Police later discovered that Brescia paid Foxworth $10,000 cash for the murder.
Both James Brescia and Scott Foxworth were arrested on April 4, 2006. Scott Foxworth was found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy in June of 2009 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The prosecutors assigned to this case were Chief of Homicide Adrienne Lynch and Assistant District Attorney Jamie Charles. The Victim Witness Advocate was Anne Foley. The paralegal was Ashley Cunningham.