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Judge Says ‘Unqualified Menace To Society’ Used ‘Demonic Level Of Violence And Terror’ To Kill Father, Son

A Connecticut man has been handed a sentence of 120 years in prison for his involvement in the brutal murders of a father and son more than three decades ago. Willie McFarland, 55, was ordered by Judge Elpedio N. Vitale in a New Haven courtroom on January 31 to serve two consecutive 60-year sentences for the violent deaths of Fred Harris, 59, and his 23-year-old son, Greg Harris, at their Hamden residence, as reported by the Hartford Courant.

During the hearing, Judge Vitale described McFarland as an “unqualified menace to society” and highlighted the “demonic level of violence and terror” displayed in his attack on the victims. On August 27, 1987, Fred and Greg Harris were discovered with their throats slit, nearly decapitated, and bound with telephone wire. Greg Harris also endured se*xual assault, according to the Hartford Courant.

McFarland had been imprisoned over 20 years ago on an unrelated se*xual assault charge when he purportedly confessed to carrying out the heinous murders. However, due to insufficient evidence at the time, prosecutors were unable to press charges against him. In 2019, advancements in DNA testing enabled investigators to finally connect McFarland to the crime scene from decades earlier, leading to his conviction for the murders in November 2022.

State’s Attorney John P. Doyle, Jr., expressed satisfaction with the outcome, stating, “Today’s jury verdict is the result of a 35-year quest by dedicated investigators and prosecutors who never gave up their search for justice for the victims of these horrendous crimes.” This achievement was made possible through innovative investigative techniques, forensic science advancements, and unwavering determination to hold perpetrators accountable, as reported by the Hartford Courant.

Moriah Ballard
Moriah Ballard
Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.


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