Charges Pending In Murder Of Shirley Reine
By: Laura M. Reckford
John Rams Jr., the Wareham man who was convicted of robbing Shirley M. Reine’s East Falmouth home in 2003, was to be arraigned today for her murder. The arraignment follows an announcement from Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael D. O’Keefe Friday afternoon that a Barnstable County grand jury handed up an indictment of Mr. Rams, 39, the day before.
Police served Mr. Rams the indictment Thursday evening at the North Central Correctional Institute at Gardner, a minimum security prison where he is four years into a seven-year sentence for the robbery.
After being served the indictment, he was moved to the maximum security prison, Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.
The indictment comes six and a half years after Ms. Reine, the 52-year-old wife of Melvin J. Reine Sr., was shot in the garage of her home at 657 East Falmouth Highway on May 10, 2005.
Shirley Reine’s sister, Loretta Gilfoy of East Falmouth, said she has mixed feelings about the indictment. “It’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s something I’ve been waiting for,” she said, noting that a grand jury has been meeting for years on the case.
Ms. Gilfoy has said that the evening Shirley Reine was murdered, she was returning home from dinner with Ms. Gilfoy and other family members. When she was found the next morning, she was wearing the same slacks and yellow blouse that she wore to the dinner.
During the course of the murder investigation, police uncovered evidence of a previous robbery of Shirley Reine’s home in which a safe was stolen.
In addition to Mr. Rams, Todd M. Reine, Shirley Reine’s stepson, was convicted for the break-in. He was released from prison at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley on November 18 after serving four years of a four- to five-year sentence as a co-conspirator for the crime of stealing the safe.
Mr. Rams had pleaded guilty to the theft of the safe in 2007. During the subsequent trial of Mr. Reine as a co-conspirator,
Mr. Rams, in a surprise twist in the case, decided to testify against Mr. Reine. That testimony was considered key to Mr. Reine’s conviction.
The theft of the safe is linked to a civil suit.
In 2002, Todd Reine and his brother, Melvin J. Reine Jr., filed a lawsuit against Shirley Reine, claiming she influenced their father, Melvin Reine Sr., to deprive them of their inheritance. Because of the lawsuit, the two brothers were deemed “persons of interest” in the murder from the beginning.
A crucial element of the brothers’ lawsuit against Ms. Reine was the paperwork stolen from the safe, which Todd Reine claimed had appeared on his doorstep one day. Police later learned Todd Reine orchestrated the theft, which was carried out by Mr. Rams and another man.
Melvin Jr. and Todd Reine are the sons of Melvin Reine Sr. and his first wife, Wanda, who disappeared in 1971.
Melvin Reine Sr. is a convicted arsonist who has long been suspected in several unsolved cases, including a murder, two disappearances including that of his first wife, and the shooting of a Falmouth police officer. Now 72, Mr. Reine has been held since 2001 at Taunton State Hospital with a diagnosis of Pick’s disease, a form of dementia.
His sons now live in the house where Shirley Reine was killed, which is also the home they grew up in.
Shirley Reine began living with Melvin Reine Sr. in 1972, according to court documents she supplied in the months prior to her death, and she became a de facto mother to the boys. She and Mr. Reine were married 27 years later, in 1999.
Neighbors say that Todd Reine, since being released from prison, has kept a low profile, though he has been seen at Rocky’s Gym & Fitness across the street from the Reine compound on East Falmouth Highway.
Paul J. (Rocky) Rodriques, the owner of the gym, said people have asked him whether Todd Reine is an employee. Mr. Rodriques said he is merely letting Mr. Reine work off the price of membership by doing some cleaning at the property.
“He’s not on the payroll. He wanted to work out, so he’s working off a membership,” Mr. Rodriques said.
Mr. Rodriques said that he considers himself someone who has turned his life around and so he believes in giving people the same opportunity. “He did his stint,” he said of Mr. Reine’s time served in prison.
The investigation into Shirley Reine’s murder remains active, according to Mr. O’Keefe, and is being jointly conducted by members of the Falmouth police and detectives of the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the district attorney’s office.