Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in 1976 Gloucester Shooting
Norman Pike, 55, formerly of Gloucester, pleaded guilty yesterday to manslaughter in Lawrence Superior Court in connection with the 1976 shooting death of Eleanor Wadsworth. Today, Judge Richard Welch sentenced him to serve 14-15 years in state prison at a sentencing hearing during which Wadsworth’s family gave victim impact statements.
Had the case gone to trial, Essex Assistant District Attorney Michael Patten would have introduced evidence that would have proven that, on December 2, 1976, Pike went to his grandfather’s funeral home on Middle Street with two accomplices, Kevin Ireland and Josh Kennedy, with the intention of stealing money out of the safe which was located on the second floor of the funeral home. Ms. Wadsworth, who was 65 at the time and worked in the funeral home office, walked in unexpectedly and startled the suspects. Ireland ran out of the funeral home. Kennedy pulled out a gun and shot the victim in the head at least three times, killing her. The two men grabbed the money (approximately $1400), left the funeral home and met up with Ireland at their car. The three suspects fled the scene.
Former Gloucester Police Chief Michael Lane re-opened the case in 2009 which ultimately resulted in the arrest of Ireland and Pike, who was living in San Francisco, California under an assumed identity. During the investigation, police learned that Kennedy had died in 2003 while living in Florida.
Ireland, who was initially charged with murder, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in March 2012 and agreed to cooperate with the Commonwealth in the case against Pike.
“I applaud the hard work of former Gloucester Chief Mike Lane, Gloucester Detective Steve Mizzoni, Massachusetts State Police Detective Josh Ulrich and ADA Patten whose patient diligence brought justice for Eleanor Wadsworth and her family,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said.
Pike was represented by Attorney Thomas Ford.