January 10, 2006

40 Potential Jurors Dismissed In Geoghan Case


WORCESTER, Mass. -- About 40 potential jurors were dismissed on Monday in the trial of a prison inmate accused of killing convicted pedophile priest John Geoghan, the man who came to personify Boston's priest sex-abuse scandal.

Though most were excused because of work or school conflicts, some jurors were let go after conceding they could not impartially decide a case involving the slaying of a convicted child molester. One prospective juror said he was a gay man sexually abused as a child, adding, "I have no sympathy whatsoever for Geoghan."

In the end nine jurors -- four men and five women -- were chosen Monday for the trial of Joseph Druce. Jury selection was to continue on Tuesday.

The highly publicized case will likely be less about whether he beat and strangled the former Roman Catholic priest in his prison cell in August 2003 than about whether he should be held criminally responsible.

Druce's lawyer, John LaChance, has said he plans to use an insanity defense, arguing during pretrial hearings that Druce was suffering from a "major mental illness" when he killed Geoghan, one of the men at the center of the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Posted by kshaw at January 10, 2006 08:03 AM