, Salem, MA

July 26, 2013

Widow indicted on drug charge


---- — PEABODY — The widow of a man who was beaten to death following a simmering dispute over parking in 2010 was indicted this week on a charge of trafficking in opiates.

The raid on Michelle McDonald’s Peabody home took place in October 2011, but she was charged only this year, according to court documents.

The indictment, handed up Wednesday by an Essex County grand jury, moves the case from Peabody District Court, where McDonald was arraigned in March, to Salem Superior Court, where she could face state prison time if convicted.

McDonald is charged with one count of trafficking in opiates over 14 grams.

According to a police report, detectives from Peabody and Beverly police, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI, had been investigating McDonald for approximately two months when they obtained a search warrant for her 4 Cashman Road home.

On the morning of Oct. 4, according to a police report, officers saw McDonald, 34, peer through a window and then close the blinds. After gaining entry, police found more than 600 oxycodone pills, along with a variety of other prescription drugs, $3,810 in cash, notebooks, packaging material, a scale and a small amount of marijuana.

McDonald is the widow of Chad McDonald, who was killed in October 2010 when he and another man, Fernando Aristy, got into an angry confrontation over parking near a storage facility in Lynn. Aristy, who said he acted in self-defense, was later convicted of voluntary manslaughter and is serving a nine- to 13-year prison term. His case is under appeal.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.