Metro

Berkley man charged with brutally killing friend in jealous rage

John B. Wittey, 70, was arraigned Friday in the murder of John E. Williams, also 70, in his home on Monday night.

George Rizer for The Boston Globe

John B. Wittey, 70, was arraigned Friday in the murder of John E. Williams, also 70, in his home on Monday night.

WAREHAM — A Berkley man allegedly shot his 70-year-old friend 10 times inside the victim’s home Monday night, killing him in a jealous rage after learning the other man had carried on a romantic relationship with his recently deceased girlfriend, authorities said.

The details of the love triangle and brutal slaying were disclosed Friday in Wareham District Court in the case against John B. Wittey, 70. Wittey pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the death of John E. Williams, also 70, of Wareham.

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Wittey was ordered held without bail. His lawyer did not return a call seeking comment.

Williams’s daughter, Mary Ellen Travassos, 36, of Dighton, said in a brief phone interview after the hearing that her family was having difficulty processing what happened.

“I will tell you that he was a great man, and a great father,” she said.

The medical examiner determined that Williams was shot 10 times and stabbed on the right side of his abdomen, according to an affidavit filed by State Trooper David B. Collett.

“That’s a pretty vicious, brutal homicide,” Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz told reporters after Wittey’s arraignment, praising investigators for “making sure we can get somebody off the street [who] would shoot a 70-year-old individual 10 times between his back and his head. . . . That’s outrageous conduct.”

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According to Collett’s affidavit, Williams’s girlfriend, Roberta Delorie, 66, discovered Williams lying in a pool of blood inside his home on Glen Charlie Road in Wareham late Tuesday morning.

Travassos later told investigators that her father had previously been romantically involved with a woman, identified as Judy Attaya-Harris, while Attaya-Harris was living with Wittey, the affidavit said.

Attaya-Harris, 66, died last month of cancer, records show, and Travassos told authorities that her father sometimes drove Attaya-Harris to doctor’s appointments. Attaya-Harris and Williams belonged to the same ham radio club, and Wittey got to know Williams through the group, the affidavit said.

Wittey told investigators on Tuesday that during the prior week, he became upset after discovering an e-mail that Attaya-Harris sent to Williams in September 2014 that contained details “of a sexual relationship between Judy and the victim,” Collett wrote.

But Wittey insisted that he never brought the note to Williams’s attention, the affidavit said. He also said he took a “joy ride” on Monday night because he was upset and traveled all the way to New Jersey before returning home on Tuesday afternoon.

Wittey claimed that he had never visited Williams’s home, according to Collett.

GPS data, however, showed that Wittey drove to Williams’s street on Monday at about 9 p.m. and stayed for an hour, and then returned shortly after midnight before leaving less than 10 minutes later.

In addition, court-authorized searches of Wittey’s vehicle and residence yielded several firearms, ammunition, and empty Beck’s beer bottles, according to the affidavit. Investigators discovered a Beck’s bottle at the murder scene, and Wittey told authorities that he drinks Beck’s, the legal document said.

Investigators also seized several firearms from the home of Williams, who was discovered lying face down with his right hand up by his head, records show. Two live bullets and one spent casing were also located near his head.

Wittey, who was convicted in 2013 of assaulting a disabled person over 60, is due back in court on March 14, according to legal filings. In addition, Attaya-Harris took out a restraining order against Wittey in February 2003, and the order was closed two months later, records show.

Globe correspondents J.D. Capelouto and George Rizer contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.
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