January 10, 2006

Man accused of killing pedophile priest


19:58 2006-01-10
Jury selection continued Tuesday 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. More than 60 jurors were dismissed for the trial of Joseph Druce, most because of work or school conflicts, though some 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."

Ten jurors, five men and five women, were chosen by mid-morning Tuesday. With the initial jury pool of 72 people exhausted, a new group of candidates was being brought in. 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. On Monday one juror was dismissed after she told lawyers she found it "a little hard to believe" that Druce was insane.

Posted by kshaw at January 10, 2006 11:43 AM