January 11, 2006

Opening Statements Scheduled In Ex-Priest's Murder Trial


WORCESTER, Mass. -- Lawyers have winnowed a pool of 100 candidates down to 16 jurors who said they could be impartial in the case of a prison inmate accused of killing John Geoghan, the convicted pedophile priest who became the face of Boston's clergy sex abuse scandal.

The 10 men and six women were to hear opening statements on Wednesday in the trial of Joseph Druce, a 40-year-old man already serving a life sentence for murder who officials say bragged about killing Geoghan to "save the children."

Druce's lawyer, John LaChance, doesn't dispute the allegation that his client sneaked into Geoghan's cell in August 2003 and strangled the defrocked priest accused of molesting 150 boys.

LaChance does, however, question whether his client is legally responsible for his actions. Druce, LaChance has said, was sexually abused as a child and suffers from a "major mental illness."

Druce tried an insanity defense during his 1989 trial on charges he murdered a hitchhiker who allegedly made a sexual pass at him.

Posted by kshaw at January 11, 2006 07:46 AM