First Degree Murder Indictments Returned In 1976 Gloucester Funeral Home Shooting
Kevin Ireland, 54, of Gloucester, and Norman Pike, 52, a former Gloucester resident who fled to San Francisco shortly after the killing and was living under the alias of Dan Franklin, are expected to be arraigned in Salem Superior Court on a date to be determined in June. Pike is the grandson of the late funeral home owner.
Pike and Ireland, along with Richard Kennedy, were allegedly robbing the safe on the second floor of Pike's Funeral Home the morning of May 7, 1976, when employee Eleanor Wadsworth, 65, walked in on them and was shot.
The unsolved murder case was reopened in March of last year by Gloucester Police Chief Michael Lane, who was a Detective Lt. when he renewed the investigation. Upon his promotion to chief, he assigned the case to Gloucester Police Detective Steve Mizzoni.
Detective Mizzoni, along with Massachusetts State Trooper Joshua Ulrich, re-interviewed several witnesses who had been questioned nearly 34 years earlier. As a result of those interviews, the investigators were able to bring charges against Pike and Ireland. Kennedy died in 2003 in Florida.
The maximum penalty for first degree murder is life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
The case will be prosecuted by Essex Assistant District Attorney Michael Patten.