Press Releases


Willie McFarland Sentenced to 120 years in Prison for the August 1987 Murders of Fred and Greg Harris in Hamden


(New Haven, CT) – John P. Doyle, Jr., New Haven State’s Attorney, announced today that Willie McFarland, age 55, of New Haven, was sentenced by the Honorable Elpedio N. Vitale to 120 years in prison for the murders of Fred Harris, age 59, and his son, Greg Harris, age 23, inside their Hamden home in August 1987.

McFarland was found guilty by a jury on November 22, 2022 of two counts of the crime of Murder in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-54a. Calling the murders, "a demonic level of violence and terror," Judge Vitale sentenced McFarland to 60 years in prison on each murder charge, to run consecutively, for a total effective sentence of 120 years to serve. In his sentencing remarks, Judge Vitale noted that McFarland "is an unqualified menace to society."

According to evidence introduced at the trial, police found the bodies of Fred and Greg Harris in an upstairs bedroom on August 27, 1987. The men were bound and their throats were slashed. Evidence found at the crime scene linked McFarland to the murders.

The case was investigated by the Office of the State’s Attorney, Judicial District of New Haven Cold Case Unit, which consists of prosecutors and inspectors from the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office and detectives from the Greater New Haven area. The mission of the Cold Case Unit is to review unsolved homicide investigations and conduct further investigations into these crimes, including utilizing modern-day scientific methods. The Hamden Police Department, the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Unit, the Division of Scientific Services within the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner contributed to this successful investigation and prosecution.

“After 35 years, the man responsible for the murder of a father and son, in their own home, has been brought to justice,” State’s Attorney Doyle said.

The case was prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Seth R. Garbarsky and Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Lisa M. D’Angelo, with assistance from Inspector Michael Mastropetre.