Connecticut man arrested, charged in ‘heinous’ double-slaying from 1987

At a press conference, officials said they’ve known 52-year-old Willie McFarland was the murderer for 20 years.

Willie McFarland.
Willie McFarland. –Hamden Police Department

Hamden, Connecticut, police made an arrest Tuesday in a double murder from 1987.

At a press conference, officials said they’ve known 52-year-old Willie McFarland was the murderer for 20 years. He reportedly confessed to the slayings while in jail for a different crime.

There wasn’t enough information to get an arrest warrant at the time, authorities said, but new DNA evidence linked McFarland to the murders.

Hamden’s acting police chief, John Cappiello, said officials were recently able to test more of the items from the crime scene due to advancements in DNA technology.

Court documents say McFarland had been out of prison for one day when he forced his way into the apartment of Fred Harris, 59, and his 23-year-old son, Gregory Harris. McFarland reportedly knew the younger Harris from working together at a car wash.

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McFarland allegedly slashed the throats of both men and sexually assaulted one of them before ransacking the apartment for money and a gun he believed was there.

“It’s one of those things that, you know, you just don’t let them go,” Cappiello said at a press conference. “This was a heinous crime. It’s one of the ones that once we retire and stuff, it’s one of those ones you’ll never forget.”

Hours after the murders, police allege, McFarland sexually assaulted a woman in New Haven with a knife.

McFarland was arrested without incident Tuesday at his New Haven apartment and charged with with two counts of murder. His bail was set at $2 million.