If you’ve started watching HBO’s new Murder in Boston docuseries, you may be looking for more information about Chuck Stuart — and to find out what ultimately happened to him.
On October 23, 1989, Charles “Chuck” Stuart and his pregnant wife, Carol Stuart, were driving through the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston when Chuck made a chilling 911 call. He said that Carol had been shot execution-style in the head and that he had been shot in the stomach by a Black man who jumped into their car to rob them. Carol and their baby ultimately succumbed to their injuries, though Chuck survived. But as authorities and the public would later learn, his story about what happened that night couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
After 10 weeks of an intense manhunt in the Mission Hill projects spearheaded by the Boston Police Department, Chuck’s younger brother, Matthew Stuart, came to police with a completely different story. He told police that he knew Chuck to be responsible for Carol’s death, and confessed to helping him pull off a fake robbery and disposing of the gun after Chuck shot Carol in an elaborate plan to cash out $182,000 in life insurance policies.
The morning after Matthew’s confession, Chuck Stuart jumped off the Tobin Bridge to his death. He was 30 years old.
Who Was Chuck Stuart and What Were His Motivations?
Before the events of Oct. 23, 1989, Stuart worked as the general manager for Edward F. Kakas & Sons, a fur clothing store on Newbury Street in Boston. He grew up in Revere, Mass. and attended the Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School in Wakefield, where he focused on culinary arts, according to a 1990 story about the case from The New York Times.
Chuck and Carol got married in 1985. They lived in the suburb of Reading outside of Boston in a slate-blue house with a pool and a jacuzzi. In the 10 years before his suicide, chuck had gone from making $4 an hour as a short-order cook to a manager at Kakas & Sons, where he made over $100,000 a year.
But he had dreams of one day opening a restaurant, The Times adds — and according to his friend, David F. MacLean, Carol’s pregnancy stood in the way.
MacLean told police that, over dinner in Sept. 1990, Stuart had asked him for help with killing his wife. Stuart told MacLean that Carol’s pregnancy gave her “the upper hand” in their marriage, and since she had refused to get an abortion, he was concerned about their loss of household income if she left her job as a lawyer to become a full-time mother. When MacLean first approached police with information about Chuck’s involvement in Carol’s murder, his tip was ignored.
Chuck did not admit to killing Carol in his suicide note, but instead said that he couldn’t bear the charges being brought against him, according to The Times.
Who Was Charged in Connection to the Stuart Case?
Though Chuck Stuart died before he could face the charges or have his day in court, his brother, Matthew Stuart, was indicted for obstruction of justice and insurance fraud, to which he pleaded guilty. Matthew’s friend, Jack McMahon, who admitted to assisting him in disposing of evidence, was indicted as an accessory to murder. Both were sentenced to three years in prison in 1992.
Two Black Mission Hill residents, Willie Bennett and Alan Swanson, were accused of Carol’s murder and arrested in the weeks during the manhunt before Chuck’s suicide, but neither were charged.
Matthew Stuart was released on parole in 1997. He was found dead at a homeless shelter in Central Square, Cambridge, in 2011.
HBO’s Murder in Boston is now streaming on Max.
Main Image: Carol and Chuck Stuart on their wedding day pictured in Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning courtesy of HBO.