January 20, 2006

Witness describes mental condition of Geoghan's alleged killer


WORCESTER, Mass. -- Convicted killer Joseph Druce took the witness stand Friday to defend himself against charges he beat and strangled pedophile priest John Geoghan in his prison cell.

Druce's lawyers don't dispute that Druce killed Geoghan, a central figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal, but they say he was suffering from severe mental illness and should not be convicted.

The 40-year-old Druce, who is already serving a life sentence for killing a man he suspected of making a pass at him, described a troubled childhood in which his father beat Druce and his mother. He said he was physically and sexually abused at a residential school for troubled children.

Druce told investigators he killed Geoghan to avenge the innocent children the defrocked priest was accused of molesting. Earlier Friday, as Druce he was being escorted out of the courtroom for a recess, he shouted "God save all the innocent kids."

Posted by kshaw at January 20, 2006 03:15 PM