January 6 - The start of a 3-year murder investigation

2002: Christa Worthington is found dead in her Truro home ~ 1641: Massachusetts becomes first state to legalize slavery
Christa Worthington. File photo.

2002: Christa Worthington murdered

The start of a three-year murder investigation

On this day in 2002, the bloodied body of Christa Worthington was found in her Truro bungalow by a former boyfriend, her 2-year-old daughter Ava nestled beside her. The former fashion writer, 46, shown in the photo, had been murdered with a stab wound through her chest.

An arrest in the case would not come for more than three years, when police charged Worthington's trash hauler, Christopher McCowen, 33, with counts of murder, burglary and rape, based on DNA evidence proving McCowen had sexual contact with Worthington, inconsistencies in McCowen's statements to police, his frequent access to Worthington's property and five restraining orders from women against him.

Following a four-week trial in October and November 2006, a Barnstable Superior Court jury convicted McCowen on all counts, resulting in a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. The conviction of first-degree murder also triggered an automatic appeal as mandated by state law.

In January 2007, McCowen's attorney, Robert George, filed a motion alleging racial bias among at least three jurors depriving McCowen of a fair trial. Superior Court Judge Gary Nickerson last month ruled in favor of the motion and ordered a hearing to be held Jan. 10 and 11, with jurors returning to the courthouse in Barnstable village to respond to the allegations.

Read about "Everything Else Which Happened Today" including in 1773 when Massachusetts slaves petitioned the legislature for freedom.

1641: Massachusetts Legalized Slavery.

Massachusetts became the first North American colony to recognize slavery as a legal institution.

Massachusetts was the first colony in New England with slave ownership and was a center for the slave trade throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.

No legislation was passed that abolished slavery until the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 was ratified by the state.

On right is a poster from that era offering slaves for sale in Charlestown, Mass.

Read more about slavery in the Bay State here. Poster courtesy of Wiki Commons.


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