NEWPORT – Forty-four years ago someone gunned down a Pittsfield teacher while he was pumping gas in town, and nobody has ever been charged.
“The guy was a teacher … and he was moonlighting during the summer over there at the old Texaco station [in Newport] approximately where Burger King and stuff is over there,” said Don Hallenbeck of the Pittsfield Historical Society.
Robert McKee, 35, was a sixth-grade teacher at the Vickery School in Pittsfield and was working the overnight shift at McNally’s Texaco Station in Newport on June 20, 1975.
He was shot three times sometime after 1 a.m. when a Maine State Police trooper stopped for gas and when a customer found the teacher’s body at around 3:30 in the morning.
“From what I understand he was a victim of a robbery,” Hallenbeck said. “At that time the station was open 24/7.”
Investigators say $400 was missing from the cash drawer. News reports at the time say the owner of the gas station ran a fundraiser to help McKee’s widow and two young children.
“Nobody really knows what happened,” Hallenbeck said. “He took whatever happened, as far as anybody knows, to the grave with him.”
“There was nobody around at that time,” he said of Newport. “That was all dead area, just beginning to come alive.”
According to previously published reports, investigators reopened the case in 1977 after receiving a tip reportedly about the location of the murder weapon. They searched a property on Washington Street in Pittsfield to no avail.
“It’s gonna be solved, perhaps someday,” Hallenbeck said.