Real Name: Richard McCue
Date: October 18, 1987
Location: Rochester, New Hampshire
Details: Rick McCue claims that he was wrongly convicted of the 1987 murder of Alene "Lulu" Courchesne. Lulu was a thirty-four-year-old divorced mother of three who worked at a convenience store in Rochester, New Hampshire, and was engaged to Darren Healy, who was in prison. Rick and moved to the area a few weeks earlier. Lulu and Rick had met at her work on October 16, 1987. At the end of her shift, he asked her out for drinks, and she accepted. After that, they agreed to go on another date the next day.
On the evening of October 17, Rick arrived at Lulu's apartment. While he waited for her to get ready, her fiancee's brother Russell arrived. Shortly after that, she received a call from Darren. Russell talked to his brother and then handed the phone to Lulu. She put her finger up to her mouth, signaling Rick to be quiet. During their conversations, neither she nor Russell mentioned that Rick was there. Rick and Lulu left and then spent time at two bars. They drank and shot pool under around 2AM.
A few minutes later, they returned to Rick's apartment. His friends Cheryl and Marty McGuire were staying over and sleeping in the master bedroom, so he and Lulu went to the spare bedroom. The two had sex and Cheryl overheard Lulu saying "Slow down" and Rick saying "Get dressed, I'll take you home." She went to the kitchen to make a phone call, and heard Rick and Lulu driving away in Rick's pickup truck. Phone records showed that the call was made at 2:42AM.
Rick claimed that sometime after 2:30AM, he dropped Lulu off at her apartment, four minutes away. He then returned to his apartment and went to sleep. Cheryl confirmed this, stating that he was gone for only fifteen minutes. Laurie Clark, a neighbor at Lulu's building, also heard the sounds of Rick dropping her off and her entering her apartment. Later that day, Lulu was found dead in a local dumping site near the Spaulding Turnpike. She had been strangled and beaten to death. Tire tracks and footprints were found at the scene, along with a puddle of antifreeze. Suspicion immediately fell on Rick as her killer.
Rick was questioned and his truck was examined by police. No blood was found and although soil samples were found, none matched those found at the crime scene. However, police believed that his tires closely matched the tracks found at the scene. They also believed that his boots were consistent with the prints at the scene. Finally, a witness placed a truck similar to Rick's at the crime scene. However, this sighting occurred at 2:30AM, even though Cheryl claimed the couple did not leave until 2:42AM.
Six months later, Rick was arrested and charged with Lulu's murder. At trial, prosecutors claimed that Rick killed her after she rejected his sexual advances. Although he claimed the sex was consensual, prosecutors claimed that Lulu's statement of "Slow down" was actually her rejecting his advances. However, Cheryl claimed that Lulu and Rick's conversation did not sound violent or angry. The medical examiner testified that she had been killed between 2AM and 5AM, but that it most likely was close to 2AM.
Officers testified that Rick's truck was leaking antifreeze. They also testified that it had summer tires in the front and winter tires in the back, which matched the tire tracks at the crime scene. A tire expert testified that distinct tread characteristics found in the tracks at the crime scene matched the truck's tire tread. However, there were discrepancies in the wheelbase measurements between the truck and the tracks at the scene. Also, a defense expert testified that the measurements did not match his truck.
The defense claimed that it was impossible for him to have committed the crime within a fifteen minute window (driving her to her apartment, strangling her, dumping her body and returning to his apartment). They especially noted that the coroner stated it would take three to four minutes just to strangle her. However, an officer claimed that the drive between Rick's apartment and the dump site was less than two miles and could take just four minutes.
The defense also introduced blood spatters in the hallway outside of Lulu's apartment, which matched her blood type. They suggested that she had been attacked after she was dropped off. Unfortunately, her neighbor Laurie Clark had health problems and was unable to testify at trial about hearing Rick drop her off. On the day of the murder, Lulu's ten-year-old daughter found traces of blood in the shower stall and on the seat of Lulu's bicycle. However, since her apartment was not examined for five days, the blood vanished. A bloody towel was later found in the closet.
At trial, Russell Healy claimed that Lulu had cut her leg while shaving before her date, and used the towel to clean up the blood. However, Rick claimed that this did not occur; furthermore, no cuts or scrapes were found on her legs. Lulu's daughter also claimed that she woke up around 6AM that morning to hear the shower running, someone banging on the walls, and a man saying "Where's my pants?" A few moments later, she saw a man resembling Russell pass by her room.
Despite the conflicting evidence, Rick was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. His defense attorneys appealed his conviction after learning of a witness named Elizabeth Grant. Four months after the murder, she had contacted the police, claiming that she had overheard Russell boasting about killing Lulu. She claimed that the police ignored her statement.
Russell also gave police conflicting statements about his whereabouts on the night of the murder. Furthermore, according to Laurie Clark, he was jealous about his brother Darren's relationship with Lulu. However, in November of 1991, Russell passed away, and before his death, he told his wife that he was innocent. Tom MaGruder, one of the jurors, has since come forward, stating that he believes he made a mistake in convicting Rick. He stated that another juror conducted an "unscientific" test regarding the wheelbase measurements. Tom and several other jurors noted that they disregarded the wheelbase evidence because it was too confusing.
Many still believe that Rick McCue is innocent and that Russell was the one responsible; despite these allegations, Rick remains in prison.
Extra Notes: The original airdate of the segment is January 6, 1993.
Results: Unresolved. Rick was granted a re-trial after one of the original jurors claimed that another juror had gone out with his own truck and tested the accuracy of the wheelbase measurement evidence. On January 19, 1993, Rick McCue was re-tried for the murder. On February 26, he was found not guilty of the murder and released. However, in 2003, Rick was sent back to prison for the rape of a handicapped person.
Although not mentioned in the segment, another suspect in the case was Barry Lazaro. As police were investigating the murder scene, he unexpectedly pulled up there. When police tried to talk to him, he returned to his vehicle and quickly drove away. When questioned that same day, he claimed that he had gone to the spot to go to the bathroom. Despite this claim, he never went the bathroom during his entire interrogation. Rick also claimed to have seen Barry arguing with Lulu two nights before the murder. However, another witness denied the argument took place, and Barry's girlfriend gave him an alibi for the night of the murder.
In 2005, two men came forward claiming to have info to help solving the case. Despite these new developments, Lulu's murder remains unsolved.
- State v. McCue
- Lowell Man Granted New Trial
- Judge grants new murder trial for Lowell man
- Judge rules juror acted improperly in McCue case
- New trial granted to convicted killer
- State won't appeal decision to give Lowell man new trial
- Prosecution rests in McCue trial
- McCue v. City of Rochester
- Lowell rape case goes to jury
- Man guilty in handicapped woman's rape
- Reddit Discussion of Rick McCue