A dilapidated home with an infamous former dweller hid quite the surprise for new homeowners who are remodeling the house.
Wayland police received a call on Aug. 14 about an object discovered behind a wall during renovations at 24 Old Connecticut Path. Det. Sgt. Jamie Berger said police responded and found an old military ammunition box hanging from a wire behind a wall. The box contained a .357 Smith and Wesson handgun as well as some ammunition and gun oil.
Berger said that the gun is registered to John G. Lindenberg, the former occupant, who was convicted in June 1991 of murdering his boss the year before.
Lindenberg, then a state aquatics biologist, was charged with the Feb. 15, 1990, shooting death of his supervisor, Peter H. Oatis, according to an Associated Press article in the June 21, 1991 edition of The Sunday Gazette (Schenectady, N.Y.)
The article states that Lindenberg claimed he fired the shots in self-defense, but the prosecution claimed he went to work that day at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife in Westborough with the intent to kill Oatis. In the end, a jury at Worcester Superior Court did not agree the act was premeditated, but did convict Lindenberg of second-degree murder. He received the mandatory sentence of life in prison, but was to be eligible for parole after 15 years.
No further information about Lindenberg's case was immediately available.
Berger said the gun found in the Wayland home is not the weapon used to murder Oatis. Still, he turned the gun over to Worcester County detectives, where Lindenberg was prosecuted two decades ago, for ballistics testing.
Wayland Police Chief Bob Irving said it is fairly common for new homeowners to find firearms or ammo left behind in houses or for children to discover something when cleaning out their parents' home. Finding guns sealed behind walls is quite a bit more unusual.
Earlier this month, a Saugus homeowner called police to report finding five firearms in the ceiling of his basement, according to Fox 25 News. That home was once owned by convicted mobster Anthony D'Agostino.
The new owners could not be reached for comment, but public records show that Jonathan and Ann-Marie Sevigny purchased 24 Old Connecticut Path, built in 1890, from the Florence G. Lindenberg Trust on June 29, 2012. The previous sale of the property occurred in 1955.