January 07, 2006

Geoghan's alleged killer to go to trial in Worcester


By Denise Lavoie, AP Legal Affairs Writer | January 7, 2006

BOSTON --When convicted pedophile priest John Geoghan was beaten and strangled in his prison cell, authorities had plenty of evidence against the man charged in his killing.

Prison officials said they found inmate Joseph Druce inside Geoghan's cell, with the door jammed shut so no one could enter. A defiant Druce allegedly bragged openly about killing "the child molester" and told investigators he did it to "save the children."

With Druce's trial scheduled to begin Monday, the question for the jury won't be whether Druce killed Geoghan, but whether he should be held criminally responsible. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in Worcester Superior Court.

Druce's lawyer, John LaChance, plans to use an insanity defense. He argued during pretrial hearings that Druce was suffering from a "major mental illness."

A convicted murderer who is already serving a life sentence, Druce has been hospitalized at least twice for ingesting foreign objects. In September 2003, just two weeks after Geoghan was killed, Druce swallowed pieces of a pencil in his prison cell. Three months ago, Druce swallowed a piece of television cable and a piece of his eyeglasses.

Posted by kshaw at January 7, 2006 08:46 AM