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Inmate indicted for prison murder of pedophile priest

September 12, 2003

Joseph L. Deuce Photo: AFP WORCESTER, Massachusetts — A grand jury indicted Joseph L. Druce for murder in the slaying of former priest and fellow inmate John J. Geoghan, who was strangled and beaten in his prison cell, authorities said Thursday.

Druce, who remains in prison, allegedly beat and strangled Geoghan in the defrocked priest's cell on Aug. 23.

Geoghan, 68, was serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for groping a 10-year-old boy and was accused of molesting nearly 150 boys over three decades. His case triggered the sex scandal that has rocked the nation's Roman Catholic Church.

Druce, 38, was serving a life sentence for the 1988 murder of a gay man. He unsuccessfully used an insanity defense during his 1989 trial in the killing of George Rollo, 51, who allegedly made a sexual advance toward Druce after picking him up hitchhiking.

Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte said Thursday that Druce would be arraigned on the new murder charge at a later date.

Druce's lawyer, John LaChance, did not immediately return a telephone message left at his office Thursday.

In an interview last month with The Associated Press, LaChance said he planned to pursue an insanity defense. "The impression that I got from him was that his beef with Geoghan was based on his serial mistreatment of little kids, and that he really wanted Geoghan to leave the kids alone," he said.

Druce was briefly hospitalized last week after swallowing an object in his prison cell. Prison officials would not say what Druce swallowed or say if it was an accident or suicide attempt. –Sapa-AP

Convicted killer Joseph Druce is shown in a 1986 handout photo (see top) from the Gloucester (Massachusetts) Police Department. Druce, 37, serving a life sentence for a 1988 murder, is accused of murdering former Boston priest John Geoghan, who was in the first of a six year sentence for child molestation, 23 August at the maximum security Souza-Baranowski Corrections Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. Authorities say Druce, a self-described neo-Nazi, savagely beat and strangled Geoghan while guards were distracted. Geoghan was in protective custody at the time of his murder. (Gloucester Police Department/Getty Images/AFP)

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Prosecution: inmate planned ex-priest's slaying for 'well over a month'


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