Mistrial Declared as Jury Deadlocks in Trial for 1988 Murder of 11-Year-Old Massachusetts Girl, District Attorney Reports


The trial of a 76-year-old Alabama man accused of killing an 11-year-old girl in Massachusetts in 1988 ended Wednesday with a judge declaring a mistrial due to a hung jury.

Marvin C. McClendon Jr. had pleaded not guilty to a murder charge stemming from Melissa Ann Tremblay’s death.

McClendon was apprehended last year, decades after Tremblay vanished. Investigators attribute the suspect’s identification to new technologies. They claim that evidence retrieved from Melissa Tremblay’s body helped solve the case.

McClendon’s attorney, Henry Fasoldt, said his client appreciates the jury being “deliberate and thoughtful” and looked forward to retrying the case.

“Mr. McClendon maintains his innocence and I believe he’s innocent,” Fasoldt said in a statement.

The Essex County District Attorney’s office plans to retry McClendon, according to a spokeswoman.

There is no new trial date established.

Tremblay, of Salem, New Hampshire, was discovered in a Lawrence trainyard on September 12, 1988, the day after she went missing.

Melissa Tremblay’s mother and boyfriend went to Lawrence’s Social Club in September 1988. Melissa played outside in the adjacent communities while they stayed inside. Melissa, however, had vanished by that evening. A train employee and a pizza delivery driver were the last to see her. Unfortunately, her body was located in a railway yard. She had been stabbed to death, according to investigators.

Lawrence and Salem, New Hampshire are only a few miles apart.

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According to officials, McClendon, a former Massachusetts prisons department employee, lived in Chelmsford near Lawrence and was performing carpenter work at the time of the incident. In Lawrence, he worked and went to church.

Numerous interviews have been conducted over the years, and cold case investigators have worked on this case since 2014.

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