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Official says Stuart probably OD’d on drugs

By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / September 6, 2011

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Matthew Stuart had probably succumbed to a drug overdose when he was found unresponsive in the bathroom of a Central Square homeless shelter Saturday morning, according to a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case.

Stuart, 45, was found dead shortly after 1 a.m. at the Heading Home shelter on School Street.

According to the law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case, physical evidence was found at the scene that was consistent with intravenous drug use. An autopsy is still pending, however.

An official with Heading Home did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

Stuart was the younger brother of Charles Stuart, whose infamous killing of his pregnant wife, Carol DiMaiti Stuart, in their car on Mission Hill in 1989 fanned the flames of racial tension in Boston.

A wounded Charles Stuart had told police that a black man robbed and shot him and his wife, setting police off in the wrong direction and leading to the accusation of an innocent man named Willie Bennett.

When questioned by police, Matthew Stuart confessed that he helped hide the murder weapon and some jewelry after his brother shot his wife and intentionally wounded himself. Before he could be arrested, Charles Stuart jumped off the Tobin Bridge to his death on Jan. 4, 1990.

Matthew Stuart was arrested in Revere in the mid-1990s on drug charges shortly after his release from prison for his role in covering up the crime, though the charges were later dropped.

Cambridge police declined to comment on the cause of death last night.

Neither members of the DiMaiti family nor the Stuart family returned calls seeking comment last night.

The DiMaiti family released a single sentence statement Sunday, marking the only comment from either side since the story broke: “Our condolences go out to the family of Matthew Stuart.’’

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at jguilfoil@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globe_guilfoil.