Suspect in 32-Year-Old Murder of Father and Son Arrested

A man has been Sentenced to 60 Years in Prison After 1987 Murder of Father and Son in Hamden.

The murder suspect who Hamden police arrested 32 years after the slayings of a father and son has been sentenced to spend the next six decades in prison.

On Tuesday, 55-year-old Willie McFarland was sentenced to two 60-year prison sentences to run concurrently.

Police arrested McFarland, of New Haven, in November 2019, charging him with the Aug. 21, 1987 murders of Fred Harris, 59, and his 23-year-old son, Gregory Harris. 

The father and son were killed inside their residence at 655 Fitch St. Court documents said McFarland stabbed both men in the chest and slit their throats.

McFarland and the two Harris men knew each other.

On the day of the slayings, Harris showed up at the home and asked to borrow a knife. When one of the victims handed it over, McFarland forced his way into the home.

Both victims were tied up before being killed.

McFarland, who had a criminal history, had just been released from jail the day before the crime.

While serving time for another crime, McFarland confessed to the murders. He said he did it because he was looking for money and a gun he believed to be in the home.

McFarland was charged with two counts of murder. 

Around 30 years after the case, police began investigating the case again with the assistance of the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office and advances in DNA technology that didn’t exist in 1987 helped them make an arrest.

Police said McFarland is a registered sex offender, convicted for two sexual assaults shortly after the killings. One of those sexual assaults happened just hours after the killings.

McFarland was in prison for the prior conviction until 2011.

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