It sounded like a scene from a bad spy novel: a former MIT professor and wealthy businessman is ambushed in a dark parking lot and shot by two masked men with Russian accents.The professor said his son arranged the hit. The son and his siblings say dad faked it.
At first, John J. Donovan Sr. seemed to be the victim of a harrowing attempt on his life. Five months later, he was indicted for allegedly making it all up.
The financial stakes? Control of various trusts holding a fortune in New England real estate.
This wasn't the first time Professor Donovan claimed his kids were attempting to kill him. You can read the back story in the Boston Globe archive (subscription).
Donovan's bench trial began today in Cambridge Superior Court:
He is accused of falsely claiming that two men attacked him on the night of Dec. 16, 2005, as he left his Cambridge company and then telling investigators that he believed his son James orchestrated the shooting. Prosecutors allege that the Hamilton resident carefully composed the crime scene in which a car window was shattered by a bullet and spent .22-caliber cartridges were scattered in the parking lot to make it appear that he had been targeted for murder by his family.