Cult murders haunt retired city detective

The Herald News, May 1, 2003
GREGG M. MILIOTE, Herald News Staff Reporter

FALL RIVER — Paul Carey, the former detective sergeant who led the investigation into the “cult murder” of Karen Marsden 23 years ago, has spent the past four years working to exonerate her convicted murderer, Carl Drew.

Drew was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His co-defendant, Robin Marie Murphy, accepted a plea bargain for second-degree murder.

After serving 22 years in prison, Murphy recently requested a new trial because she believes she was not given an ample explanation of the charge she was pleading guilty to and thought she would be out of jail in 15 years.

But Carey says Murphy was the cult leader and was responsible for all three cult murders in 1979 and 1980.

“Since I retired I have had my deep-rooted thoughts about this case,” Carey said Tuesday. “The way it all turned out, isn’t the way it was.”

Murphy was able to plead guilty to second-degree murder because she was the prosecutor’s star witness in the case against Andre Maltais in the 1979 murder of Barbara Ann Raposa, just months before the murders of Marsdenand Doreen Levesque.

Maltais was convicted of Raposa’s murder and was later sentenced to life in prison.

But Carey, who had an intimate knowledge of the street scene in Fall River at the time, said, “I believe Robin Murphy was the perpetrator of all three murders.”

“Karen Marsden was at the first two murders. That’s why she became the next victim,” Carey said. “Carl Drew was not a participant and didn’t have anything to do with it.”

During the past four years, Carey has been working and re-working the strange cult murders to try to get Drew a new trial.

He has been visiting Drew in prison since 1998 and for the past eight months has enlisted the help of a part-time Bristol County College student to help him read all court transcripts regarding the case.

Although he says he is not being paid for his work on this case, he is working under the direction of a lawyer from the Center of Public Representation in the greater Boston area.

Michael Cutler, an attorney with the center, is currently representing Drew and is receiving frequent updates from Carey on the progress of the investigation.

Murphy and Drew were both convicted during their separate 1981 trials for the murder of Marsden, a young prostitute in the city at the time.

The murder, like that of Levesque and Raposa, was brutal and grisly with signs of satanic cult-like rituals.

During the initial investigation, Murphy admitted to going with Drew and another man, Carl Davis, to a secluded area of Westport where she slit Marsden’s throat while the other men ripped her head off.

Court documents stated the trio kicked Marsden’s head around the woods, performed ritualistic ceremonies including an anointing of the blood and performed sex acts on the cadaver.

“This was a viscous, hideous crime,” Carey said. “Of all the murder cases I investigated during my 25 years with the force, I never had such a sour taste in my mouth like I did with this one. Something in my heart makes me know Drew is innocent.”

But a former detective who served under Carey during the initial investigation said he has a slight difference of opinion on the matter.

Alan Silvia, who now works as vice president of the Portuguese Youth Cultural Organization, said he doesn’t believe Murphy or Drew should get a new trial.

“These are dangerous people who are in prison for a reason,” Silvia said. “Everything in our investigation pointed to these two people. They are being justly incarcerated.”

He said he is not privy to the information Carey has developed over the past four years, but still believes the investigators at the time made the correct arrests and went forward with prosecution accordingly.

Although he said Drew is being justly imprisoned for life, he does consider Murphy to be the more dangerous of the two.

“My big concern is about Robin Murphy. She is the most dangerous person I’ve ever known,” said Silvia, a 17-year veteran of the police force. “She has made threats of retribution against us and to be honest, I think if she is paroled, we should be notified.

“This was the strangest, most bizarre case I ever had the opportunity to work on and I never want to do it again.”

Carey said he was unable to go into the specifics of his investigation into the bizarre murders. He instead directed all other questions to Cutler, who could not be reached.

“I am trying to exonerate Carl Drew and believe me, I will,” Carey asserted. “I’m doing this on my own, because I know what happened.”

Drew, who in 2002 wrote his own story posted on a Web site, corroborated that Carey was visiting him in prison and did believe he was innocent.

In the six-page plea for help, Drew briefly outlines the events of the case.

He, like Carey, said Murphy was the cult leader, not him.

In one section of his letter, while describing what happened after being arrested, he wrote, “I denied all, but might have as well been shouting into the wind. All my protests fell on deaf ears. I was accused and as far as the justice system was concerned, guilty of whatever was said. Who was going to pay attention to a ‘Street Kid’ from a poor, dysfunctional background. I had been thrown to the legal wolves and that was that. I became the focal point of anyone’s wild, macabre, conjuring imagination of some fictitious nightmare.”

Drew concluded his letter with a plea for help. He said with the right attorney, the case could be overturned.

During the initial investigation both Carey and Silvia went undercover to local meetings of the satanic cult. Silvia said he doesn’t remember much and didn’t want to talk about it.

But Carey said he remembers going to a cult meeting and seeing Drew, Murphy and Marsden at the apartment where the meeting was held.

He said they watched a satanic ritual where strange chants were bellowed and “Hail Satan” was announced to let everyone know Satan had entered the room.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 1, 2003.
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