Druce Indicted in Slaying of Geoghan

By Marie Szaniszlo
Boston Herald
September 12, 2003

A Worcester grand jury has indicted Joseph L. Druce in the beating and strangulation death of defrocked priest and fellow inmate John J. Geoghan.

Druce, who was returned to the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Institute in Shirley this week after being hospitalized for ingesting two pencils, will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court at a later date, District Attorney John J. Conte said.

The 38-year-old defendant was serving a life sentence for killing a gay man when he allegedly attacked Geoghan Aug. 23 in his cell because he saw the convicted child molester as a "prize," Conte has said.

Druce's indictment came as a group of lawmakers called on Gov. Mitt Romney to expand a panel investigating the Geoghan slaying to include independent experts.

In a written statement, Secretary of Public Safety Edward A. Flynn, who convened the panel, said, "We will go where the facts lead us, we will follow the evidence, we will fix responsibility."

But Rep. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville) and other members of the Legislature's prison task force noted two of the panel's three members are connected with the Department of Correction - one as an employee, the other as a contractor. The third is a state police official.

"We're not suggesting these people are not qualified to do this work," Rep. Byron Rushing (D-Boston) said. "What this commission needs is more eyes, more minds" to ensure an outcome "that the public sees as believable."

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