Lawyer: Cold case suspect may have implicated himself
FILE - In this Jan. 26, 1995, file photo, Craig Conkey is arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge, Mass., on charges he killed Mary Lou Sale in her Lexington, Mass., home on Dec. 6, 1994. Already serving a life sentence, Conkey, 46, is accused of killing Theresa Reed, a 30-year-old associate registrar at Plymouth State University, in September 1991. The case was re-opened last year by the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
The Massachusetts inmate charged with the stabbing death of a Plymouth woman 21 years ago may have implicated himself.
Craig Conkey, 46, is accused of killing Theresa Reed, a 30-year-old associate registrar at Plymouth State University, in September 1991. The case was re-opened last year by the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit and presented Friday to a grand jury, which indicted Conkey on two charges: first-degree murder alleging that he killed Reed during a burglary, and an alternate charge of reckless second-degree murder.
Boston attorney Bernard Grossberg said yesterday that he has a client named Craig Conkey, and that his client contacted New Hampshire authorities last year about his involvement in “a very old homicide” in New Hampshire. But he said no one notified him that his client has been charged in New Hampshire.
“My recollection is that he brought his involvement to their attention, and at first they didn’t know what he was talking about, and they had to go back and open up this old case,” Grossberg said.
Conkey is already serving a life sentence in Massachusetts for the 1994 murder of a 49-year-old woman there, and he confessed last year to a second Massachusetts killing involving a 31-year-old victim.
In Plymouth, the police initially said Reed’s death was not a random act, according to news accounts at the time. But the stabbing scared students and prompted increased security at what was then Plymouth State College. In the weeks after the killing, extra officers were on patrol, dormitories were locked around the clock and students traveled together in large groups. Merchants reported increased sales of guns, bullets, Mace and door locks.
Reed, who was from Rumney, graduated from Plymouth State in 1983 and immediately began working for the school. She lived alone in a building with three apartments near campus. Friends described her as a private but friendly woman who went out of her way to help others.
Conkey grew up in Dorchester and was a member of the Class of 1985 at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, friends and neighbors said yesterday.
John and Pat Franz, a couple who live on Route 118 in Dorchester, remember Conkey as a polite young teenager who loved to fish and would walk down the street with his rod and bucket.
He was a smart, lean kid who would brazenly walk around in just a short-sleeved shirt during the fall, John Franz said.
The news of Conkey’s charges – in the ’90s and now – is surprising, he said, because the youth he knew “was always polite, always a gentleman and always pleasant.”
His wife, Pat Franz, said she taught fifth- and sixth-grade language arts and social studies to Conkey at Canaan Elementary School.
Patrick Andrew, superintendent of the Mascoma Valley Regional School District, confirmed yesterday that a student by the name of Craig Conkey, who would be 46 this year, was a member of the Class of 1985 at Mascoma Valley Regional High School. He said he couldn’t identify whether that individual is the same one who has been charged.
Conkey had been identified publicly as a suspect in Reed’s murder as early as 1996, at the time of his trial for the 1994 Massachusetts murder. At that time, New Hampshire authorities appealed for information about him and his whereabouts at the time of Reed’s death. Last year, the state police Cold Case Unit re-opened Reed’s case, and its findings were presented to the Grafton County grand jury on Friday. Conkey’s indictment was announced Tuesday.
“This brings the family another step toward closure,” university spokesman Timothy Kershner said yesterday.
(The Valley News contributed to this report.)