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 Latest coverage

October 25
Victims could now collect

October 2
Geoghan's sister hits guards

October 1
Geoghan's sister to speak

September 27
Conviction erasure protested
Druce is hospitalized again
Guard ad seeks understanding

September 24
Inquiry: Druce beaten as child

September 20
Druce pleads not guilty in slay
Geoghan claims guard assault

September 14
Report says Druce in a rage

September 13
Letter: Druce abused as a boy

September 12
Geoghan bore guards' abuse
Lawyer: Mail deluges accused

September 11
Expanded panel is sought

September 8
Druce is returned from hospital

September 5
Geoghan consultant ties eyed

September 4
Conflict raised on consultant

September 3
Bias concerns raised in probe

September 2
No new panel members seen

August 31
Geoghan panel to expand

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

Lawyer says mail is deluging accused in Geoghan slaying

By Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff, 9/12/2003

 Related stories
Geoghan killed
Geoghan's sister criticizes guards

Geoghan's sister to speak

Victims protest conviction erasure
Druce is hospitalized again
Guards' ad seeks understanding

Inquiry: Druce beaten as a child

Druce pleads not guilty to killing
Geoghan claimed guard assault

Report describes Druce in a rage

Letter says Druce abused as boy

Inmate: Geoghan bore abuse
Lawyer: Mail deluging accused

Expanded Geoghan panel sought

Druce is returned from hospital

McNamara: A back-page death

Geoghan consultant's ties eyed
McGrory: Romney can do better

Conflict issue raised on consultant

Bias concerns are raised in probe

No new members seen for panel

Geoghan panel will be expanded

Group assails prison guards
Geoghan is buried in Brookline
Op-Ed: Geoghan's 'innocence'

Priest in 'aggressive' case unit
Records show Druce as deviant
Voiding of record is challenged

Bid to keep Geoghan at Concord
Geoghan's death voids conviction
Prison units see volatile mixes
US attorney won't rush decision

Monthlong plot to kill Geoghan
Alleged killer led troubled life

Geoghan was tied and beaten
Death doesn't end victim suffering
Similiarities in suspect's '88 crime
Priest seen as a prison target

Geoghan is strangled in prison
A troubled life exploiting vocation

Geoghan case letters, documents
Law deposition in Geoghan case

 From the archives
Key stories in the Geoghan case

Church allowed abuse for years

Geoghan found guilty of sex abuse

Geoghan receives 9-10 years

Law recalls little on Geoghan case

Geoghan victims settle for $10m

 Complete coverage
The John Geoghan case

Joseph L. Druce, the inmate accused of killing defrocked pedophile priest John J. Geoghan, has received piles of mail -- ranging from laudatory to condemning -- since he allegedly beat and strangled Geoghan in a prison cell, Druce's lawyer said.

Druce is "well aware" of the worldwide news coverage of Geoghan's death, but he disputed reports that depict him as hating homosexuals, said his lawyer, John H. LaChance.

"He has very strong feelings about pedophiles and the harm and emotional problems they cause to little kids, to 8- and 9-year prepubescent boys, screwing up their lives," said LaChance, who has spoken to Druce several times. "But as far as he is concerned, he is not homophobic."

LaChance, who was appointed to represent Druce on Aug. 26, said he has not asked Druce, 38, if he was sexually abused as a child.

"I have not discussed it with him," he said. "Obviously, it is an extremely private issue and something we will talk about."

An insanity defense is likely, said LaChance, who to date has interviewed Druce only over a phone while separated from him by a plexiglass partition at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.

LaChance said he may seek a court order to gain better access to his client.

"We're doing a complete investigation of his background and his state of mind" at the time of Geoghan's death, LaChance said.

Druce was under the constant watch of correctional officers after returning to the prison Saturday night, LaChance said. Druce swallowed two small pencils while in his cell Friday and was taken to UMass Memorial Healthcare medical center in Worcester to have the objects removed from his stomach by endoscopic surgery.

LaChance said he did not know why Druce swallowed the pencils, which he described as the kind used by golfers to keep scorecards, but said his client was not attempting suicide.

Justin Latini, a spokesman for the state Department of Correction, declined to comment on Druce's mail or the conditions of his current imprisonment.

Druce's father, Dana Smiledge of Byfield, told the Globe after Geoghan was killed that his son had a longstanding grudge against homosexuals, in addition to a hatred of blacks and Jews.

Druce was convicted in 1989 in the North Shore murder of George Rollo. He told authorities Rollo made a sexual advance toward him.

According to psychiatric testimony and documents from his trial, Druce, who changed his name from Darrin Smiledge in 1999 while in prison, was obsessed with sex and violent fantasies as a boy, and his mother blamed his frequent misbehavior on his hatred of her. He was prescribed Ritalin and Thorazine as a teenager, records show.

Sean P. Murphy can be reached at

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