(Everett Delano/New Hampshire Dept. of Justice Office of the Attorney General website)
by Nancy Shack, WBZ NewsRadio1030
CONCORD, N.H. (WBZ NewsRadio) -- New Hampshire’s Cold Case Unit has solved it's oldest crime yet: the 1966 murder of an auto repair mechanic and married father of three.
Everett Delano, 49, was shot to death September 1, 1966. He was found barely alive on the floor of Sanborn's Garage in Andover with three gunshot wounds to the head. He died the next day in the hospital.
According to the state Attorney General’s Office, Delano lived in Wilmot Flat, N.H. with his family, and moonlit from the garage as a night watchman at Colby-Sawyer College in New London.
At the crime scene, police report money was taken and water was left running in the bathroom. Fingerprints were discovered and sent to the FBI but the case was never solved.
(crime scene photos from 1966, sink from garage where fingerprints were found (left) and exterior of Sanborn's gargae(right)/ N.H. Attorney General's office)
Delano's shooting was re-examined by the Cold Case Unit in 2013 after the victim's daughter called the Attorney General's office to ask why her Dad's murder was not included in the cold case list when the new unit opened.
What the unit discovered was that the fingerprints taken from the crime scene had never been entered into the FBI's Automated Fingerprint Identification System, which was not used by New Hampshire authorities until 1998.
(Thomas Cass in 1966 (left) and 2014 (right)/ N.H. Attorney General's office)
Lo and behold, a match was found--Thomas Cass of Orleans, Vt., who had a very long rap sheet encompassing multiple New England states and who had been 20 years old at the time of the murder.
Investigators spoke to Cass in 2013 and were able to get a DNA sample even though he denied any knowledge of the crime.
They went back to him a year later with a search warrant that did not turn up any weapons as hoped but they knew they had their man and told Cass they had evidence linking him to the crime. He committed suicide four days later.
The Attorney General's office's concluded the evidence left no doubt that Thomas Cass was responsible for the shooting death of Mr. Delano and as a result of Mr. Cass's death, no criminal charges will be brought. The case will be closed.