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Trial Begins in Slaying of Pedophile Priest

January 12, 2006|From Associated Press

WORCESTER, Mass. — Moments after guards pried open the jammed door of John Geoghan's prison cell, Joseph Druce confessed that he killed the child molester and former priest to protect youngsters, a guard testified Wednesday as the prisoner's murder trial began.

Four guards brought Druce, 40, to the prison hospital unit, where he sobbed while confessing to killing Geoghan, guard Travis Canty said. Prosecutors said Druce had jammed the door of Geoghan's cell shut with a book, then strangled the defrocked priest with a pillowcase, socks and a sneaker.

"He said that he did it for the children," Canty said, "that when Geoghan got out he was going to do it again."

The defense and prosecution agree Druce killed Geoghan, 68, to "save the children" in 2003, but disagree over whether he was sane when he did it.

Druce's lawyer said his client was mentally ill and driven by an "irresistible impulse" to kill Geoghan. Prosecutors contended the slaying was premeditated.

Geoghan was serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for groping a 10-year-old boy, but had been accused of molesting 150 children in civil lawsuits.

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