Press Releases


Jury Convicts Willie McFarland of 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 found guilty by a jury of two counts of the crime of Murder in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-54a.

McFarland’s conviction in New Haven Superior Court stems from the murders of Fred Harris, age 59, and his son, Greg Harris, age 23, inside their Hamden home in August 1987.

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.

“In utilizing innovative investigative techniques, advances in forensic science, and the determination to hold perpetrators of horrendous crimes accountable, today’s jury verdict is the result of a 35-year quest by dedicated investigators and prosecutors who never gave up their search for justice for the victims of these horrendous crimes,” 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. The Honorable Elpedio N. Vitale presided over the trial.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 31, 2023 in New Haven Superior Court.