A relative of an elderly woman who was bludgeoned with a kettle and frying pan before being suffocated in her Quincy apartment, is outraged that one of the men involved in the 2001 slaying will soon walk free.

Jason Weir of Norton, the star witness against his two friends in the murder of one of the friend's elderly aunt, will be out of prison in less than three years after admitting to his role in the case Monday in Dedham Superior Court.

The sentence is not long enough for Nancy Petrone.

"How is justice being served when Jason Weir is allowed to resume his life in a few short years?" an angry Petrone asked in court.

Petrone, 42, is the niece of 84-year-old Marina Calabro, who was murdered by Thomas Lally of Norton while Weir watched.

Calabro's great-nephew and heir, Anthony Calabro, also of Norton, waited outside as the lookout, according to trial testimony.

Weir, 21, pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder after the fact, in return for a sentence of six years and 11 months to seven years. He was given credit for the four years he has been held in jail awaiting trial.

Lally, 25, and Calabro, 23, are serving life sentences for the murder, which occurred Dec. 19, 2001.

Weir, who was 16 at the time of the murder, was originally charged with murder but the charges were reduced when he agreed to testify against his friends.

He testified at Lally's trial earlier this year that he stood by while Lally struck the retired hairdresser with a frying pan and a tea kettle before suffocating her with a pillow. He said he feared Lally and did not intervene.

Anthony Calabro, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after Lally's trial, admitted he waited outside in Lally's pickup truck while the killing was carried out, acting as a lookout.

"I think all three of them should have gotten the same sentence. All three of them were in it together," Petrone, of Malden, said after Monday's court session.

To me, if you are standing their and you didn't do anything, you are just as guilty," Petrone said. "I mean he watched the whole thing."

Prosecutors said Marina Calabro was murdered so the men could share in Anthony Calabro's half of her estate, which included her $500,000 tenement apartment on Bedford Street in Quincy.

The men covered up the murder by making it appear like the elderly woman had fallen down a flight of stairs. They discarded evidence and murder weapons. The cleanup of the crime scene was done so well that the state medical examiner's office initially ruled her death an accident.

The cover story concocted by the men began to unravel 10 months later, however, when a friend of Weir's wore a wire for police and taped Weir talking about Calabro's murder.

In court Monday, Assistant District Attorney Robert Nelson told Judge Barbara A. Dortch-Okara that Weir's testimony was instrumental in getting Lally convicted and Calabro to plead guilty.

Weir initially agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter in return for a 10-year sentence but his lawyer challenged the agreement after Lally's trial. Prosecutors then sought and obtained an indictment on the accessory charge.

Weir's lawyer, Edward McCormick III of Franklin, said his client "made some bad choices, made some wrong choices" when he was hanging around with his older friends.

After he was arrested in October 2002, McCormick said Weir cooperated with authorities at the outset and agreed to testify against his friends.

"He has stopped making the wrong choices and made the right choice," McCormick told the judge.

Lally denied he was the killer and testified that it was Weir who murdered Calabro. He is now serving life without parole. First-degree murder cases are automatically appealed in Massachusetts.

Anthony Calabro, who apologized to the court and his family for his role in the murder, will be eligible for parole and about 11 years.

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(3) comments

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