The Informer

A teen faces a dilemma when he learns of a heinous crime

Produced By Gail Zimmerman and Ian Paisley

What do you do if you find out your best friends got away with murder? That's the question a young man faced in 2002, when a friend confided in him that the death of an elderly woman, ruled an accident, was actually a case of murder.

As correspondent Susan Spencer reports, he had to make a tough choice: keep his silence or betray his friends by contacting the police.

Twenty-two-year-old Jim Morel admits that what he used to consider good music certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. A few years ago, his compositions were designed to shock, as was his band.

"The name of my band was Electronic Kill Machine," Morel explains. "The music was disturbing. It was a little on the aggressive side. But at the same time it was all in good fun; nobody was really ever got hurt from it."

He says it simply reflected the attitude of his crowd. "At the time we thought we were untouchable, (could) do whatever we wanted and there was not going to be any sort of consequences for any of our actions," Morel says.

He and his friends grew up in Norton, Mass., a working class town near Boston. His best friend was Jason Weir, who played drums in his band. Morel remembers Jason as being a little "rebellious" and "a little bit more wild."

Another close friend, Anthony Calabro, was - informally - the manager. And Tom Lally, who was a little older, just liked to hang out, eager to fit in.

"Tom is a funny guy. He's a really, really funny guy," Morel says. "Which made it hard to fear Tom. But he wanted to be feared - kind of a tough-guy thing. But he was - it's more of a goofy, just all-around-looking to go out and have a good time."

Their backgrounds made the four a perfect fit. "Whether it was a broken home or a troubled childhood, we were all just a little different, and that's why we really kind of just came together in this group of social misfits in some way or another and we became kind of our own family," Morel explains.

In the summer of 2001, Anthony Calabro - then at odds with both parents - left Norton and moved into the Quincy, Mass., home of his 84-year-old great aunt, Marina.

His aunt Donna Strassell was happy to hear the news. "The truth is, I thought it was the best thing for him. To be with aunt Marina. Because aunt Marina had morals, rules," she says.

Marina only had recently retired as a hairdresser. She had never married or had children of her own, and she doted on Calabro like a favored son, dipping into her savings to support him. She says he got whatever he wanted.

Whenever they pleased, Marina even let Anthony's friends crash at her house - which, at 84, she still maintained herself.

But just days before Christmas 2001, Marina Calabro's independent life came to tragic end. At about 11 p.m. Anthony called the police to report that he and Lally had come home and found her dead, lying at the bottom of the stairs.

The police took photos but more or less as routine, they believed Marina Calabro had taken a terrible fall while carrying a bag of trash. The medical examiner soon confirmed that the death was an accident.

"Anthony was upset. He became more quiet, I think more to himself," Morel remembers.

Even in death, Marina Calabro took care of her beloved great nephew: Her will left Anthony half of her estate, which consisted of her $500,000 house and another half-million dollars or so that she had squirreled away over the years.

Once Anthony got the money, Morel says, he was very generous. "We could buy, do whatever we wanted," he recalls. "If we wanted to go nuts with anything, we could."

So they did. They went nuts with new equipment for the band and even made a CD.

"We were on the verge of some pretty promising opportunities coming our way," Morel remembers. "We had a pretty good following."

But that all ended abruptly on Oct. 13, 2002, nearly 10 months after Anthony's aunt died.