Sentenced to Life on Jury’s Request
Peter William Makarewicz, 16, was convicted at 6:02 last night of first-degree murder for the Nov. 4 strangling of vivacious Geraldine Annese, 15, who lived only a stone’s throw from his Norwood home.
The gangling, handsome defendant was whisked from Dedham to Charlestown State Prison early last night to begin serving the life sentence which was recommended by the all-male Norfolk County Superior Court jury.
The panel announced its verdict and recommendation that the death penalty not be imposed after returning to deliberate following an hour’s interruption, in which it asked Judge Lewis Goldberg to define the difference between first and second-degree findings.
The jurors chose the former, for which the law stipulates that “in no event shall a person convicted of murder in the first degree be eligible for parole.” Had they chosen to find him guilty of murder in the second degree he would have been eligible for parole in 15 years.
Peter’s only hope for freedom under present laws is that one day a Governor and Executive Council may grant him a pardon or lessen his sentence. His case will be reviewed automatically by the Parole Board after 15 years. The board may make a recommendation to the Governor but is powerless to grant a parole.
Cool and casual during the 10-day trial, Peter broke down and cried when the verdict was announced. His parents and other relatives were heartbroken and inconsolable. Defense attorney Louis Goldstein was “stunned.’
Joseph Annese, 63, father of the slain girl, commented:
“The verdict was O. K. But I would feel better if he got death like my daughter.”
Cynthia Savage, 15, Geraldine’s closest friend, and Mrs. Lena Garneau, sister of the victim, were both in tears. They observed:
“We are glad. Now he can think over what he’s done. He has got to live with himself.”
Attorney Goldstein said:
“I am stunned. I still believe he is innocent I will review the record and see if there are grounds to take it to the Supreme Court.”
Judge Goldberg, in dismissing the jury, commented:
“This is a just verdict based on the evidence.”
Following final arguments and the charge by Judge Goldberg, the jury began deliberating at 3:29 p. m. At 4:05 it reported that it had a question to ask the judge.
Peter was brought back from Dedham Jail at 4:12. There was a 40-minute delay for the arrival of Goldstein, and then Judge Goldberg explained the difference between first and second-degree verdicts. The jury left to deliberate again at 4:50 and at 6:02 announced it had reached a decision.
Pale but still composed, Peter took his place in the dock as the jurors filed back.
Seated in the first row of the spectators’ section, almost directly back of the dock, were his relatives —his mother and father, Adrienne and Peter S. Makarewicz: Mrs. Stasia Rowens of Norwood, Peter’s aunt; Paul Bernier of Sanford, Me., an uncle, and the defendant’s brother, Richard, 14.
In the same row. only a few feet away, were relatives of the slain girl—her 63-year-old father and Nat Annese and John Generazo, uncles of the victim. Seated nearby were Miss Savage and Mrs. Garneau.
The hush which hung over the courtroom was broken as assistant clerk of court A. Clinton Kellogg, inquired of the jury foreman:
“Have you reached a verdict?”
Foreman Cecil F. Wetherbee of Foxboro replied:
“We hive. We find him guilty of murder in the first degree and recommend that the death penalty be not imposed.
Dist. Atty. Myron N. Lane arose:
“I now move for sentence, your honor.”
Judge Goldberg handed his decision to the clerk of court, who read:
“Peter William Makarewicz, you are hereby sentenced to serve the balance of your natural life in the custody of the state, one day to be spent in solitary confinement, the balance to be served at hard labor.”
Peter, who had stood stoically, sank slowly to his seat in the prisoner’s cage. His mother, father, brother and uncle all rushed to be by his side, clutching each other wildly in the emotion of the moment.
Slumps on Stairway.
Deputy sheriffs hurried to Peter’s side and ushered him into an anteroom, while spectators filed from the courtroom. His stunned parents walked slowly into the corridor.
“Junior ,.. Junior . . . they’re taking him away,” the mother mumbled numbly. Then, observing the people leaving, she added, “I hope all these people have seen everything they want.”
Peter was handcuffed to Deputy Master Edwin H. Downs and Deputy Sheriff Dell Turner for the trip to Dedham Jail to pick up his belongings and await transfer to State Prison.
As the boy walked down the marble steps he started to slump. The two men to whom he was handcuffed pulled him to his feet and rushed him outside to a station wagon.
The car lurched from the curbing and Peter left behind him the courthouse where for 10 days he had been the central figure as attorneys tried to save him from the electric chair and life imprisonment.
He had battled desperately for his freedom, taking the witness stand in an effort to convince the jury that he had not strangled and sexually assaulted Geraldine Annese as Dist. Atty. Myron N. Lane and the state contended.
And shortly before the jurors retired to deliberate he was given another chance to face them. In a calm voice, seated in the prisoner’s cage, Peter told them: “I have been accused of a crime I did not commit and I only hope that the verdict you return will be a verdict of not guilty.”
Gives Five Possible Verdicts
Judge Goldberg then began his charge.
The jurist took an hour and 22 minutes in explaining points of law confronting the panel.
He gave them five possible verdicts:
- First degree murder.
- First degree murder, with a recommendation the death penalty not be imposed.
- Second degree murder.
- Not guilty.
He explained that if the crime were committed during the commission of rape or assault with intent to rape, it would be a first-degree verdict and would carry with it a mandatory death penalty. But. the judge added, there “cannot be rape of a dead woman.”
The state had brought out that Geraldine was murdered before she was sexually assaulted.
The prosecution alleged that Peter committed the murder about 10 p. m. last Nov. 4, after slipping from his Washington st. home and lying in wait for Geraldine in a two-car garage on Tremont st., adjacent to her home.
Before the case was deliberated, jurors Leo J. Lamb of Quincy and Joseph H. Schmidt Jr. of Wellesley were excused. With the exception of the foreman, names of all the jurors were placed in a box and two withdrawn. Those two did not have to decide Peter’s future.
Defense counsel Goldstein, in his summation, had told the jury that Peter confessed only after being given a “brain-washing” by authorities who questioned him. He said the state had produced no* motive for the strangulation of the girl and contended that the purported confession the state introduced was a prepared “script.”
In his remarks to the jury, Lane said:
“Some say this boy is only 16. but on Nov. 4 Geraldine Annese was only 15, a virgin with her whole life ahead of her when this smart-alecky defendant strangled her.
“We claim she died fighting for her honor and her life and you, the jury, must now be convinced that the defendant, with deliberately premeditated malice aforethought, and in the attempted commission of rape upon her, strangled and murdered Geraldine Annese.”
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