Geoghan's Slayer Cries Foul in Suit
Druce Says He Was Misled, Abused
By Bronislaus B. Kush
Telegram & Gazette
December 27, 2006
Worcester — Joseph L. Druce, who was found guilty earlier this year of the 2003 prison slaying of pedophile priest John J. Geoghan, has filed a civil suit charging there was a conspiracy to mislead him about the defense strategy employed during his murder trial.
Named as co-conspirators and defendants in the Worcester Superior Court suit were Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte; Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley; the diocese of Worcester; the Massachusetts Department of Correction; Deacon David Isabelle, a chaplain at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center where the murder occurred; and John H. LaChance, Mr. Druce's defense lawyer.
A jury on Jan. 25 convicted Mr. Druce of first-degree murder in the Aug. 23, 2003, killing of the 68-year-old Mr. Geoghan — determining that the slaying was premeditated and done with extreme atrocity or cruelty.
Mr. Druce was already serving a life sentence for murder when he beat and strangled the defrocked priest, a convicted child molester.
Mr. LaChance had argued his client was not guilty by reason of mental illness and maintained that he lacked criminal responsibility for his actions.
In the 12-page suit, Mr. Druce — claiming that he's a political prisoner and that he's being physically abused at Walpole State Prison where he is now incarcerated — said he was led to believe that an insanity defense would lead to his acquittal.
The suit also makes a number of other claims, including an assertion that the Department of Correction's reports on the slaying didn't accurately portray the circumstances surrounding Mr. Geoghan's killing.
Mr. Druce is seeking another jury trial, restraining orders against the defendants and $50 million, among other remedies.
Mr. Conte and Raymond L. Delisle, a spokesman for the Worcester Diocese, declined to comment on the suit.
The other defendants could not be reached by telephone for comment late yesterday.
Mr. Druce was sentenced to a consecutive life term with no possibility of parole, the mandatory punishment in first-degree murder convictions.
Mr. Druce received another life sentence in 1989 when he was found guilty of strangling a North Shore man who picked him up hitchhiking and allegedly made sexual advances toward him.
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