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Myles Connor
The Art Of The Heist - Myles Connor

History of Boston Rock
     History of Boston Rock & Roll - Chapter 6 - Myles Connor

Myles Connor We interrupt our continuing saga of Boston Babylon to bring you this special to The Beat. In recent days, headlines such as President of Rock Playing To Jury have popped up in Boston newspapers, making Myles J, Connor Jr. the center of local and national news in connection with the murder of two Jamaica Plain women. Connor's disappearance after acquittal and the surrounding sensation have prompted Bostonians to query, "Who is he? I've never heard of him! What songs did he sing?"

In his WBCN broadcast on the day of Connor's disappearance, Mark Parenteau spoke for most of us when he expressed his inability to find the Myles Connor section of the WBCN record archives. "Maybe it was misfiled next to Miles Davis," Parenteau quipped.

In future articles, we'll incorporate his musical achievements into the proper chronology of the History of Boston Rock, For now, suffice it to say that Connor was and is a local legend. His days of rock 'n' roll are in the past but that past is quite impressive. He played with the best of them, headlining over the Beach Boys, gigging with Sha Na Na and more. His band, Myles Connor and the Wild Ones, played quite frequently around the Boston area in the late 50's and early 60's but Connor made a brief comeback in 1975, billing himself as the President of Rock. More on that later. For this issue, we'll concentrate on Connor's battles with the law.

Although the story of Connor's alleged involvement in the murder of two 18-year-old women begins in the mid-70's, he's had more than hit share of arrests, convictions and appeals. The following is a list of events occurring in a mere two years, 1965 and 1966, suited from Boston dailies of that period.

1966 - Trouble Heats Up For Milton Rock and Roll Singer

Myles J. Connor Jr., then a 22-year-old rock 'n' roll singer whom had just appealed a two-year jail sentence in Maine, was arrested one week later in Revere. Police reported that Connor and a companion were booked for violation of the firearm act because both men had tear gas pens in their possession.

He was also charged with possession of counterfeit money - ninety dollars in fake $10 bills were found on him.

Connor and his companion were arrested as they were about to enter a car parked on Ocean Avenue near a cafe where Connor often entertained as a singing guitarist.

Connor was also the object of an intensive search during this period after fighting his way out of a Maine jail with a gun carved out of soap. He was captured four days after his getaway.


After what appears to have been another one of those intensive searches, following the previous Ocean Ave. arrest, police charged and convicted Connor for possession of silencers for hand guns, possession of firearms with mutilated serial numbers, receiving stolen goods and conspiracy.

And they discovered that Connor kept a cobra in his apartment.

Connor got a 14-year sentence for the above charges, as well as the tear gas/counterfeit money possession.


It's not clear from the articles we dug up as to how Connor happened to be out of jail the following year, We can only guess that his attorney appealed the above mentioned sentence.

Regardless of the means of freedom, in 1966 Connor was reported as slightly improved the night after he was shot four times in an early morning gun battle with police in Back Bay. At the same hospital, State Police Captain John T. Donovan, 35, was deemed to be in good condition after surgery for removal of one bullet from his abdomen.

Connor, then 23, was subsequently charged with assault and battery with intent to kill Donovan at the stakeout on Beacon Street. The rock 'n' roll singer was apprehended after fleeing the scene of the crime at 503 Beacon Street, scaling a drain pipe on an adjacent building, and huddling behind a chimney on an adjacent roof. His first words upon discovery were, "How's the cop I shot?"

1974-75: Never A Dull Moment

Before the emergence of events surrounding the Spinney-Webster murders, Connor was already the subject of spectacular charges and acquittals in 1974-75.

He was charged with being an accessory before the crime in a murder-holdup of Boston policeman Donald A. Brown on May 24, 1974, but was acquitted.

And on January 29, 1975, Connor was charged with the $116,300 robbery of the Norfolk County Trust Co. In Milton, but was acquitted again. Less than a month later, he was in hot water again.

The Spinney- Webster Murders

According to Thomas Sperrazza, on February 21, 1975, outside of a Roslindale Tavern, prison fugitives Sperrazza and John Stokes, under the influence of Nembutals, emptied guns, killing one bystander, Ralph Cirvinale, and wounding Anthony DeVingo. In the killers' company were two 18-year old Jamaica Plain women, Karen Spinney and Susan C. Webster. The women were quickly ushered into a car and driven to the West Quincy basement apartment of Diane Wazon. At 362 Centre St., Webster was handcuffed in the bedroom and Spinney in the bathroom. Sperrazza drove a screwdriver through Webster's temple while Stokes in turn did the same to Spinney with a kitchen knife.

The following morning the bodies were shoved into the trunk of a car and driven to Northampton, Massachusetts, where they were buried in a small wooded area.

In l976, Sperrazza was convicted of stabbing Stokes to death in Walpole State Prison (but has been recently granted a new trial).

In 1977, Connor, while serving a sentence in Walpole, was approached by DA William Delahunt, who offered Myles 10 months early release it he worked as an intermediary between Sperrazza and State Police Major John Regan to find the remains of the girls in Northampton. The deal would be that Sperrazza would also plead guilty to first-degree murder charges. Sperrazo was to get nothing in return (for the information) from the DA. He later testified he agreed to tell where the bodies were because Connor promised to help him escape from jail. "Nothing surprises me as to what happens in institutions," said DA Delahunt.

On Sept. 14, 1977, Connor led Regan to a wooded area in Northhampton off a dirt road. After 9 1/2 hours of digging, the bodies and the knife used to kill Spinney were unearthed. The spot was 150 feet away from where Myles pointed out.

1978: Sperrazza was convicted. He was also convicted at this point for the Brown murder, for which Connor was charged and acquitted in 1975. In 1979, Sperrazza became a federally protected witness and, together with Diane Wazon, implicated Connor in the murders. Sperrazza testified that Connor had provided the car that he and Stokes used to drive the girls from Roslindale to Quincy and then showed up at the apartment. Then he allegedly ordered that the women be killed because he feared that they would recognize his voice (since he had been speaking with Sperrazza and Stokes in the living room and the girls were handcuffed in adjacent rooms).

The next day, according to the testimony, Connor purchased a pick and a shovel and drove a hot Cadillac to Northampton along with his mother and his girlfriend Dianne Lowe (and the bodies in the trunk). He then joined Stokes and Sperrazza and helped bury the bodies while his mother and girlfriend waited at a nearby hotel. The Herald American reported that Connor's signature was on the register of a hotel the night after the murders took place, near where the bodies were buried.

Diane Wazen testified at the last minute that she called her apartment the night of the murders and Connor answered. Connor's lawyer, Earle C. Cooley, was not allowed to bring up the point that Wazen faced a pending trial on drug charges and that, because of the obvious bias against Connor due to his prior brushes with the law, it would be beneficial for her to try to pin Connor to the murders.

Connor did not testify and in 1981 was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder for being present, during instructing and directing the Spinney-Webster murders. He was to serve his sentence at Walpole MCI.

In August 1984, The Supreme Court of Massachusetts overturned the guilty verdict and once again Connor was set to square off with Sperrazza and Wazen in court. The trials were set to begin in February of 1985 and Myles was released on a $25,000 bond put up by his friends. The prosecuting attorney was to be U.S. Atty. Paul F. Healy, Jr.

On February 7th the trial began in which Myles would testify for the first time on his own behalf.

Testimony by Nostalgia (formerly The Beachcomber) club owner Jim McGettrick and Boston blues master James Cotton confirmed that Myles had been playing at the Beachcomber with members of Sha Na Na the night the murders took place.

Jury highlights included a visit to both Wazen's apartment and to the tavern where Ralph Cirvinale was slain.

(From a Boston Globe February 16, 1985 article by Jerry Taylor)

"Myles asked us if either of us had mentioned his name, I told him I hadn't. Stokes told him the same thing. We had more conversation and decided we were going to kill the two girls. It was a group decision."

(Sperrazza then reported he and Stokes started stabbing the victims, "killing neither.")

Q.: "Were the girls making any noise at the time?"

A. "They were in pain and agony. I couldn't make out what they were saying."

Q. "What was the subject of the next conversation?"

A. "Everybody was concerned that they were still alive. Mr. Connor told us the easiest way to kill them was to put the screwdriver to the temple."

Q. "What did you do?"

A. "I put the screwdriver to Karen Spinney's head."

Q. "Where was Mr. Connor then?"

A.: "Right beside me."

Sperrazza and Wazen are the only ones that place Connor at the scene of the crime.

CONNOR'S DEFENSE (Boston Globe, March 1, 1985, by Jerry Taylor)

Q: "Did there come a time, sir, when you authorized, counseled, ordered or participated in the murders of Karen Spinney and Susan Webster?"

A. "No."

Q. "Did you drive to Northhampton on the weekend on Feb. 21st, 1975 in a dark or burgundy colored Cadillac with your mother and Dianne Lowe and the bodies of Susan Webster and Karen Spinney in the trunk?"

"Positively not."

Connor said that he had never met Spinney, and that Webster had only seen him perform a couple of times, so there was no reason for him to fear anyone recognizing his voice.

FINAL ARGUMENTS (Boston Globe, March 3, 1985, Jerry Taylor)

In an unusual move, both prosecuting attorney Healy and defense lawyer Cooley expressed their intense dislike for Sperrazza and Wazen in their closing arguments at Conner's trial.

Healy: "He's the lowest form of human trash."

Cooley: "He's a jailhouse rat. They (Sperrazza and Wazen) are both paid informers, rewarded liars."

Cooley: "You can't convict this man unless you answer this question - Why isn't Diane Wazen dead? She recognized his voice but what protection did she need for four years?"

Cooley again: "Why would he put himself in a crime he had nothing to do with and drive a hot car to Quincy?"

Healy finished with: "The burden on the Commonwealth is to prove him guilty, not to prove he's smart."

The case went to the jury on March 4. At 1:15 after an eight-hour deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of innocent on the behalf of Myles J. Connor, Jr., age 42. The charge: two counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of accessory to murder all dropped. It was too late. Connor had not shown up in court. He jumped bail and split. His $25,000 bail was forfeited. His friends had last seen him the evening before Connor could have been a free man.

An anonymous friend: "He didn't have a car. He didn't have any money. He couldn't go anywhere, I don't think he ran. Somebody may have snatched him up."

(Boston Globe, Mar. 5, 1985, Jerry Taylor)

The next day, Myles J. Connor 3rd, 22, was scheduled to appear in the same courthouse his father was acquitted in. His charge: attempted burglary of the Towne Deli in Milton.

Meanwhile, Cooley flew to Oregon on March 4th to represent the Church of Scientology at a trial.

Myles Connor is still at large.

Facing a possible $1000 fine and one year jail sentence.

Did you know ... Albert DeSalvo was Myles' biggest fan at Walpole MCI.

This article originally appeared in The Beat on 3/15/85
(c) Charles William White III

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