Christopher McCowen: Where is Christa Worthington’s Killer Now?

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The brutal murder of a renowned fashion writer, Christa Worthington, in her Cape Cod residence in 2002 sent shockwaves across the entire town, which had not had a homicide case in the past 30 years. With an expansive list of suspects in their hands, the police were confident of finding the perpetrator responsible for the crime without much complication. However, the killer turned out to be someone they never could have imagined — Christopher McCowen, a garbage collector in the area. The episode titled ‘Murder on the Cape’ of CBS’ ’48 Hours’ delves into the complex murder case of the mother-of-one and offers an in-depth view of the investigation, subsequent trial and outcome.

It Took the Police 3 Years to Link Christopher McCowen to the Murder

Born in March 1972 in Oklahoma to Roy McCowen, Christopher M. McCowen was a Cape Cod resident since the late 1990s and served as a garbage collector in the neighborhood of Christa Worthington. She was a fashion writer who had moved from New York, where she used to work for Cosmopolitan, ELLE, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, and Women’s Wear Daily. The town of Truro had not seen a homicide in three decades until Christa turned up dead in her house on January 6, 2002. According to police reports, she was stabbed once through her left chest, which pierced her lung.

The murder weapon also left a gaping exit wound in the back of her partially-clothed body that went into the kitchen floor, where she was found dead with her 2-year-old daughter, Ava, sitting beside her and possibly being a witness to the bloodshed. The investigators also noticed that the front door was smashed in, several personal items were scattered, and there were drag marks on the ground on the property. During the investigation, a number of potential suspects emerged, including former partners of the victim.

However, the DNA found on Christa’s body did not match any of the suspects on their list. With every lead leading the detectives to a dead end, the case went cold. However, in the spring of 2005, the case got heated back up again when the police linked the DNA to the 33-year-old garbage collector, Christopher McCowen. In the evening of April 2005, the police knocked on his front door and put him in handcuffs before taking him to the police station.

Christa Worthington Gave Multiple Contradictory Statements to the Authorities

During the interrogation, Christopher started by denying knowing Christa at all but later changed the story when he learned that they had his DNA connected to the crime scene. He admitted that he had consensual sex with her before beating her. However, he claimed that he had not beaten her to death. According to him, three days before her body was found, she asked him “to come in the house and to look at her Christmas tree” when he was at her house to pick up garbage. Christopher claimed that one thing led to another, and the next thing they knew, they were kissing and having sex.

When the detectives refused to believe his story because of the timeline of Christa’s death, he once again changed his claims. He said that on the fateful night, he was drunk and stopped at her house, emphasizing that they had consensual sex, but he had nothing to do with her murder. He blamed his 23-year-old friend, Jeremy Frazier, who allegedly wanted to rob her. As per Christopher’s claims, when she caught him, the two men teamed up and began beating her. Although he admitted to beating her with Jeremy, he claimed that his friend was the one to stab her to death. However, due to the overwhelming evidence against him, including the DNA, he ended up being charged with being involved in the murder of Christa Worthington.

Later, he admitted to being under the influence of Percocet, cocaine, and marijuana at the time of the six-hour interrogation and had no memory of what he told the detectives. More than four years after the murder of Christa Worthington, the accused, Christopher McCowen, stood on trial. The defense claimed that due to the defendant’s purported low intelligence, he had little to no idea what was happening after his arrest and was only saying what the police wanted to hear. However, the arguments presented by the prosecution outweighed the defense’s claims, and Christopher was found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated rape, and aggravated armed burglary on November 16, 2006. Eventually, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Christopher McCowen is Incarcerated at a Massachusetts Prison Facility

Several months into the sentencing, the defense claimed that racism from certain jury members was a determining factor in the jury’s decision to convict Christopher. In light of those claims, a hearing was held in the presence of all the jury members in January 2008. Three of them testified that their fellow jurors passed racist comments during deliberations. So, a retrial was called, but it didn’t do the convict any good as his conviction was upheld.

In December 2010, Christopher appealed for a new trial, which was denied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. After that, he appealed three more times for a retrial, but all of them were denied. Despite his failed attempts at a new trial over the years, he has maintained his innocence. As of today, Christopher McCowen is serving his term at Old Colony Correctional Center at 1 Admin Road in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

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