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Diabolical Cindy McKay seemed god-fearing but murdered boyfriend Tony Fertitta for cash

Cindy McKay with Tony Ferretti
Cindy McKay (R) with Tony Fertitta

52-year-old mother of six Cynthia J. McKay’s greed for cash led her down a life of theft, embezzlement and finally murder – Diabolical examines her many crimes.

Long before Cindy McKay was charged with murder she was on the run from law enforcement and had a string of criminal convictions for theft and embezzling people out of money.

Many of these thefts were carried out against the places where she worked or individuals who she was romantically involved with. A few years before her arrest for murder she was caught and served one year of a eight years sentence and then 11 months for conning cash out of a senior citizen.

In 2005 McKay was released and she moved in with her son, but this did not last long as his mother wasted no time in getting a credit card in his girlfriend’s name and trying to use it. She moved on and eventually began a relationship in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, with Tony Fertitta, a driver for UPS who liked to flash cash and his friends said was a bit unlucky when it came to choosing women.

The pair dated for some time, though McMkay seemingly cheated by hitting on co-workers, seeing an old jailbird flame and also indulging in some sex chat. In December 2005, Fertitta won $20K on Keno and things soon turned deadly.

She tried to arrange a robbery with two acquaintances set to rob Fertitta at gunpoint, the muscle car enthusiast being well known for carrying a lot of cash. This plan fell through and in February 2006 police were called to Fertitta’s home, where they discovered his charred remains.

There was a love letter from McKay and also an answering machine message inquiring where Fertitta was. Detectives headed straight to McKay’s home, where the smell of bleach and suspicious stain under a rug. They also found Ferritta’s rental car nearby, inside were blood smears and a kitchen knife that was a match from the set in McKay’s house.

When McKay and her son Matthew Haarhoff, 17, arrived home, they gave conflicting accounts of what had happened. Matthew told detectives that his mother and Fertitta had been fighting and that he’d called his other brother Christopher Haarhoff for help. Christopher then attacked Ferritta with some knuckel dusters and shot him.

Meantime McKay told police that she and Fertitta had spent a pleasant evening together until he left for work in the early hours of the morning. She told them that his murder might have to do with his gambling problem.

The next day McKay was arrested and a few days later Matthew gave a new account of what happened. Telling detectives that he believed his mother stabbed Ferritta to death and that she had murdered her last husband as well. Matthew said that she’d admitted stabbing Clarence Downs III three years before and had then set the house on fire.

Eventually police charged all three with first-degree murder, with Matthew eventually being given a suspended sentence and three years probation for his role in the murder. Christopher, 22 at the time of sentencing, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and was given a five year sentence.

In 2008 McKay entered an Alford plea and was given the maximum sentence of  30 years in prison.

Diabolical – Weeping Widow airs at 10:00 PM on Investigation Discovery. 

James has worked for Monsters and Critics since it started back in 2003. He oversees the business and technical side of things. You can contact... read more
James Wray


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