- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts man convicted in 2014 of first-degree murder for the 1969 slaying of a 15-year-old boy has had the verdict reduced to the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

Walter Shelley, who is now 64, was convicted of killing John McCabe of Tewksbury.

Prosecutors say Shelley, then 17, was one of three youths who kidnapped, beat and bound McCabe, leaving him to die of asphyxiation. Authorities say McCabe was targeted because he had flirted with Shelley’s girlfriend.

The Sun (http://bit.ly/1pnFQRG ) reports that a judge reduced the verdict last month because “the heft of the evidence falls more squarely on second-degree murder.”

Shelley was already eligible for parole in 15 years because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

McCabe’s sister says she and other family members will oppose any Shelley request for parole.

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Information from: The (Lowell, Mass.) Sun, http://www.lowellsun.com

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