Slain Andover couple recalled as ‘ideal family’; daughter, grandchildren found bodies, friend says

Paul Mercandetti, a long-time friend of the Andover couple found killed Wednesday, recalled them today as an “ideal family” that reminded him of TV’s Ozzie and Harriet.

“They are the nicest people you are ever going to see,” said Mercandetti, who grew up with John Magee in Arlington and was the best man at his wedding to Geraldine Magee. The Magees were found fatally shot Wednesday morning in their spacious home in Andover, and police have said they have no suspects.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Mercandetti said. “It’s just insane.”

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The Magees’ daughter and her children, 8 and 4, found the bodies as she dropped them off at the home. The Magees looked after the grandchildren every Wednesday, Mercandetti said.

The Magees’ son, also named John, works in the family’s home construction business, and was taking it over. He lives in Somerville, Mercandetti said.

The family often traveled together and visited the Magees’ second home in Florida, he said.

“They do everything together,” he said, saying the children are in shock over the murders.

“They’re in tough shape,” he said.

John and Geraldine grew up in Arlington and went to Arlington High School together, he said. They had been married about 40 years.

Mercandetti met John Magee every Sunday for breakfast, and said there was no hint of trouble in his life.

“If there was anything going on, he would have told me,” he said. “We were very close.”

The couple loved to travel, he said, and had just returned from a cruise from Turkey to the Greek isles.

Mercandetti said he could not imagine the murders were motivated by a business dispute, saying Magee had a sterling reputation for fairness.

“He was really a gem of a man,” he said.

Steve O’Connell, spokesman for the Essex district attorney’s office, which is directing the investigation, said detectives are working hard on the murder case and it “remains an active investigation.”

He said authorities are processing the family’s burned car for evidence. The Magees’ vehicle was found by Boston firefighters on fire Tuesday night on Prince Street in the North End. It became a clue in the case after the bodies were disovered the next morning.

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