Since 1980, there have been over 211,000 unsolved murders in the United States. To this day many remain unsolved. Often these cases will sit on the shelf for untold decades, their victims waiting to be avenged.
Yet there are some cases, for whom the passage of time plays to their advantage. As the district attorney in this case so eloquently put it, “Lies are hard to remember. The truth never changes.”
Gary was 20 years old, and barely an adult when he came home to his family home at 184th Street to find his father Archie laying in their driveway. It was a cold December day and he worried that perhaps his father collapsed while doing yard work. The truth was far worse…
Archie hadn’t just collapsed from some sort of heart attack or stroke, he had been stabbed. Someone had attacked Gary’s father, stabbing him four times in the chest and once in the groin for good measure. He immediately alerted Archie’s wife, Mary Ann, who though standing in the kitchen, hadn’t seen what happened…
The police arrived and began their investigation. Archie’s murder was particularly vexing from the onset. He was a non confrontational, decent human being who loved his family and worked hard at his job. So who would want to kill him? As it happened, they soon discovered there was one person out there with the motive.
First and Only Suspect
After delving a bit into Archie and Mary Ann’s personal life, the police thought they had a pretty good idea who might have been involved in the violent attack. Their first and indeed only suspect was a man named Janos, who had been involved in a torrid affair with Mary Ann for the better part of several months…
Though they had been together for decades, Mary Ann and Archie McFarland had been having some troubles in their marriage. Mary Ann met Janos Kulcsar at an Alpine village. The handsome and charming man persistently asked her to dance, and before long, the two were an item.
Left with Him
Eventually, the three-year affair became less of a dirty little secret and more of a brutal reality. Mary Ann left her husband to live with Kulcsar, but soon found that the shine of her new man had worn off far quicker than the trust and love she’d built with her husband. She returned to work things out with her husband. Janos Kulcsar did not like that…
Mary Ann McFarland had ended the affair and came home. Things between she and Archie were being repaired, albeit slowly. That is, until Janos Kulcsar showed up at the house with a gun while she was out and confronted her husband in their living room. Mary Ann diffused the situation, but things continued to escalate after that.
Go Fly a Kite
Despite her and her husband’s protestations, Kulcsar continued to pursue her. Seven days before Archie McFarland was found dead in his driveway, he received a call from Kulcsar. The other man had been calling for his wife and so Archie told him, in no uncertain terms, “Go fly a kite,” and hung up on him. Kulcsar called back threatening Archie and saying that he was going to get even with him, somehow…
He Killed Him
A week later and Archie McFarland was dead of five stab wounds. His children immediately blamed Kulscar, but Mary Ann could not be sure. Still, though he was the most likely suspect, police lacked any physical evidence of the murder. They arrested him of course, and when they did, they found his car hot and his clothes unusually wet. Both strange things for a winter’s day.
Kulcsar had been arrested the morning of the slaying, in unusual circumstances, after having threatened the victim more than once, and providing a strangely inconsistent account of four different alibis for that morning. It seemed like an open-and-shut case, but proving he did it soon proved to be more tricky than police initially believed…
It was all for naught. Kulcsak was released by prosecutors soon after for insufficient evidence. For the next 17 years, he remained out of prison, and even took up again with Mary Ann after the courts had proven him innocent. Of course, his story about what really happened that day became more and more marred by constant inconsistencies.
District Attorney Lewin still believed that he was the killer, and each subsequent visitation of the case revealed more about how difficult it was becoming for Janos Kulcsar to keep his lies straight. He reopened the case in 2002, because it was clear to him that the only person in the world with motive to kill Archie McFarland was his wife’s boyfriend…
The prosecutors alleged that Kulcsar had been upset with the fact that Mary Ann had gone back to her husband and ended the affair, and that Archie’s disrespect of him, were all he needed to be pushed over the edge. Now he was 60 years old and facing the same charges, but this time, the police had a new weapon available to them: DNA.
Technology had come a long way since the original crime took place and as such, DNA evidence from those days would have been all-but useless to the investigation. Thankfully, new crime-solving methods have allowed for even decades-old cases to be solved after the fact. It was this DNA that finally sealed the true killer’s fate…
In 2010, after eight more years of investigation, Janos Kulcsar was charged with first-degree murder. The trial lasted three weeks and the prosecutions key witness turned out to be Mary Ann McFarland. It was clear that she wasn’t involved in Archie’s murder, but it was also clear that she didn’t want to believe that her beloved Janos was responsible.
Prosecutors painted Archie McFarland as exactly what he was, a non-confrontational man who knowingly allowed his 49-year-old wife to continue her affair with a much younger man. He wanted her to be happy and didn’t want a fight with the possessive young Kulcsar. In the end though, that’s exactly what he got…
The defense, in response to the accusations of a torrid, murderous love triangle, argued that the evidence was all circumstantial. It was still enough for the jury, however, who took only two and a half hours to find Janos Kulcsar guilty of first-degree murder. The 60-year-old was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison.
At the sentencing, Kulcsar kept his head bowed and showed no trace of emotion. He knew that he had gotten away with it for too long and that it was time to pay the piper. “It took 25 years, but I really appreciate that the system does actually work,” he said afterwards…
Hate and Forgiveness
Archie McFarland’s children decided to speak out following the sentencing. His daughter Linda, told the court that she “held no bitterness” toward Kulcsar. His son told Kulcsar that he hated what he did, but he didn’t hate him. All she and her family wanted was to move on.
As for Mary Ann McFarland, the now 70-year-old woman has said that the whole ordeal was, “Just a tragedy for all those involved…for my family and for his family.” Meanwhile, Janos Kulcsar plans to file an appeal, though it is unlikely he will be released..