O'Donovan tried discrediting Velez on the strength of a tip that his client received from a fellow Middlesex inmate named William Kenney, who allegedly overheard Velez confess to a third party: "Please tell Joe I'm sorry I have to lie. I don't want to spend the rest of my life in jail." At trial, however, all three convicts were viewed skeptically. Kenney was persistent, even in the face of McEvoy's harsh cross-examination, but O'Donovan was outmatched and nervous, fumbling procedure and apologizing. On his turn, Bruce Perry, the inmate who supposedly spoke directly with Velez, compromised his own credibility by admitting to having a half-dozen aliases.

But other than Donovan's hapless witnesses, and his own refusal to accept a second-degree murder plea that could have allowed his parole after 15 years, it was an apparent lack of juror diligence that most damaged Donovan's case. The day after the trial ended, one juror told the Cambridge Chronicle: "When we realized what the outcome was, we realized what an injustice this was. I don't feel like he should be in [prison] for first-degree murder, I don't believe that at all."

Another anonymous juror told reporters that she and others were pressured by male jurors to reach a fast decision, and that one juror was anxious to return home to her newborn child. Furthermore, though McHugh was sentenced three weeks earlier, none of the jurors knew that the minor who stabbed Raustein would serve just two decades.

shon main
JUVENILE JUSTICE? Later described by a judge as having "no respect for human life," 15-year-old Shon McHugh stabbed Raustein "to see what it was like." He was released from prison after serving just 10 years.


Seventeen years have passed since Raustein was murdered on Memorial Drive, but he has not been forgotten. In 1993, a NASA shuttle carried a Norwegian flag in honor of his dreams to pursue space technology. The next year, Mayor Reeves recognized the courage of Raustein's parents, Elmer and Inghild, at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Cambridge. And to this day, MIT gives an annual award in his name recognizing outstanding students for scholarship, teamwork, and community building. Raustein's friend, Fredheim, is a respected aquatic researcher in Norway.

McHugh's age, which prevented him from receiving a life sentence, helped him again further down the line. Since he waived a jury in his first trial, he was entitled to an automatic subsequent trial by jury under the "trial de novo" system, which Massachusetts abolished in 1993. McHugh lost his appeal in January 1994 — at which time Judge Roanne Sragow commented that McHugh had "no respect for human life" — but, due to a now-closed loophole that allowed juvenile murderers to earn early release with good behavior, was freed in April 2003 after serving slightly more than 10 years. In 1999, McHugh informed his public defender that he wished to sign an affidavit "swearing to the actual events of the night of September 18, 1992." But though Donovan's then-counsel petitioned the Office of the Attorney General, the gesture never materialized.

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Related: Lockdown, Pressure rising, Stabbed in the back, More more >
  Topics: News Features , NASA, U.S. Office of the Attorney General, Joe Donovan,  More more >
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