The 1981 Murder of Lori Stewart

I would have expected more coverage on the story of Lori Stewart, and yet there wasn’t much more than the very basics available. True that some of the articles are probably available on microfiche somewhere but there was near nothing online. The only picture of Lori I could even find online was her yearbook picture from high school…that alone should be a crime based on how most people feel about their yearbook pictures, myself included.

Lori Stewart was born on the 20th of July, 1963. She lived on Pond Street in Bridgewater, MA and graduated from Bridgewater Raynham Highschool in June of 1981, the same high school class that Mary Lou Arruda would have graduated from.

She was last seen about 7 pm on the 6th of November, 1981. Some reports indicate she might have decided to hitchhike.

Lori’s body was recovered off of River Street in Middleboro the next afternoon, not far from the Bridgewater line. She was just 18 years old. Lori was nude with her clothes strewn around her with the exception of her blouse which seemingly was used to strangle her to death.

The strange part of this case is the truth was brought to light by a prison informant – and the prisoner was turning in people who were coming to visit him, rather than simply a cell mate. This suspect was Paul S. Reed.

Paul’s wife Nancy reported her car missing the night after the crime, and it was recovered November 9th, 1981 in Plympton in an area where Paul was known to frequent and where his aunt owned a house. The car was burned but a fiber from the vehicle later matched a rabbit coat that belonged to Lori, further helped to tie him to the crime. Reed was later arrested in North Carolina.

With the testimony of the former prison roommate, Paul S. Reed was convicted of first degree murder in this case – he later appealed and his conviction was reaffirmed after a new trial was granted because “heresay evidence” had been allowed during the first trial. This heresay evidence was the story told by Paul Reed’s wife, while Paul was not present, which detailed how Mr. Reed allegedly picked up Lori hitchhiking and forced her to perform oral sex before strangling her. This story was the “heresay” allowed in the first trial entitling Mr. Reed to a retrial, where he was convicted of first degree murder a second time.

Her remains were laid to rest at St Thomas Aquinas Cemetery in Bridgewater, MA.

Source Materials:

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88471813/lori-ann-stewart

https://case-law.vlex.com/vid/397-mass-440-1986-616582794

https://law.justia.com/cases/massachusetts/supreme-court/volumes/417/417mass558.html

https://law.justia.com/cases/massachusetts/supreme-court/volumes/397/397mass440.html

Author: murderinne

Exploring local by cases in New England through extensive research and lots of coffee drinking. My opinions are my own. Sources links for more information will be posted with each post. You can email me with case suggestions, comments and just to send love at newenglandcases@gmail.com

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