New Haven man facing charges in 1987 double murder


HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A New Haven man was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly committing two murders back in 1987.

Hamden police said Willie McFarland, 52, was charged with the murders of Fred Harris, 59, and his son Gregory Harris, 23.

On August 21, 1987, police say McFarland stabbed them to death inside their home on Fitch Street.

Hamden Police Chief, John Capiello, told News 8 that, at the time, no one had heard from the father and son “in quite some time,” and it was police – acting on a wellness check call – that made the gruesome discovery.

Hamden Police Chief, John Capiello calling it a ‘heinous crime.’

It was modern DNA technology that broke the case in 2018.

“Advances in DNA testing technology were critical to bring the case to a successful conclusion.”

– Chief Capiello, Hamden Police

Police say that Harriss and McFarland knew each other, but would not get into the nature of the relationship.

However, investigators say McFarland was on their radar as a potential suspect. He was arrested for sexual assault just hours after the Harris murders took place.

Police say he served time for multiple sex-related crimes and was in prison until 2011.

The arrest has given relief to the Hamden Police Department and some form of closure to the loved ones of the victims.

“It’s very gratifying for us. I was on the job. Captain Smith was on the job and worked the case over the years. It’s one of those things that, you don’t let them go.”

– Chief Capiello, Hamden Police

McFarland was arrested an arraigned in Meriden Superior Court. He is being held on a $2 million bond.

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