January 08, 2006

Trial of former Salem man who killed pedophile priest starts Monday

The Salem News

By Denise Lavoie
Associated Press

Former Salem resident Joseph Druce, already serving a life sentence for killing a Gloucester man in 1988, goes on trial next week for the murder of convicted pedophile priest John Geoghan.

When Geoghan was beaten and strangled in his prison cell in August 2003, authorities had plenty of evidence against Druce. Prison officials said they found him 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 next week, 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.

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

Posted by kshaw at January 8, 2006 08:14 AM