37 year old James Robertson was at his mother’s house to celebrate the New Year with his parents and his family when they answered a knock at the door. At the door, with an official badge were 2 probation officers who had come to take James for random drug testing, a condition of his probation. His family didn’t know when they said goodbye it would be for the last time. Robertson’s body would turn up in the woods in Upton, MA when hunters stumbled across his skull and remains two years later.
Nothing in this case was what it seemed initially . Investigators would later find out that the “probation officers” were hired thugs that allegedly worked for a local drug dealer named James Feeney. Feeney allegedly had been working on the plan since Robertson was released from prison over a month before, because in a tale as old as time, Robertson was dating the girl Feeney liked.
Feeney also held sway over a Dedham Police Officer named Michael Shoener who had an addiction issue that Feeney supplied. Shoener allowed Feeney to borrow his badge, handcuffs and holster. Shoener was eventually convicted and given a sentence of 6-9 years for his role in the crime. Shoener didn’t simply just serve his time as being convicted would normally dictate. The family had to fight for justice even after the conviction. I am not certain they will ever receive the justice they deserve.
The two “probation” officers were Scott Morrison and Alfred Ricci. Ricci cooperated as a witness and was convicted, getting 8 years for his role in the crime. Scott Morrison was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role.
James Feeney allegedly claimed that he just wanted to injure and scare Robertson, however the injuries that were inflicted on Robertson caused his death. Despite what was said, there seems little evidence to me that Feeney ever intended for Robertson to survive. Testimony in the trial indicated he was shackled to a chair that was bolted in the concrete and beaten to the point of death. Allegedly, Feeney himself was alone with Robertson when he finally died. What did they really think would happen? I think it went as planned right up until they got caught.
James Feeney was convicted of First Degree Murder and was sentenced to Life in prison without parole.