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Inmate allegedly described how he 'conned' Geoghan

WORCESTER -- The prison inmate accused of killing John Geoghan said he ''conned" the pedophile priest into believing that he wouldn't hurt him, then wrapped socks around his neck and twisted them around a sneaker to tighten the noose until Geoghan died, an investigator testified yesterday.

Lieutenant Edward Hammond, an internal affairs investigator with the state Department of Correction, said during Joseph Druce's murder trial that the inmate appeared ''pleased with himself" as he gave a confession shortly after guards pulled him from Geoghan's cell at the Souza-Baranowski prison in Shirley in August 2003.

''I killed the child molester," Hammond said Druce boasted. ''He won't touch any more kids."

Geoghan, a central figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal, was serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for groping a 10-year-old boy, but he had been accused of molesting some 150 children.

John LaChance, the attorney for Druce, 40, says the convicted killer should not be held criminally responsible for Geoghan's death because he is mentally ill and was driven by an ''irresistible impulse" to kill the defrocked priest.

Hammond, reading from a report he wrote describing Druce's confession, said Druce told him he killed Geoghan after overhearing the former priest talking about his plan to go to South America to work with children once he was released from prison

The investigator said Druce described slipping into Geoghan's cell, using a paperback book and a pair of nail clippers to jam the door, and a pair of stretched-out socks to strangle him.

At first, Druce said he told Geoghan he didn't plan to hurt him and only wanted to hold him hostage. He said he ''conned Geoghan so he wouldn't make any noise," Hammond said.

Druce then knocked Geoghan to the floor, he told Hammond, got on top of him, punched him several times in the face, and strangled him.

Dr. Richard Evans, a medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Geoghan, said 14 rib fractures appeared to contribute to his death.

Also yesterday, jurors were shown video of prison guards frantically trying to open Geoghan's cell door, then dragging Druce out a few minutes later. The images -- some in real time, others in time-lapse photography -- conveyed the guards' desperate attempts to open the door after they realized Druce was inside.

Officials estimate that Druce was in Geoghan's cell for about four minutes before the guards discovered him there. It was then another nine minutes before the guards got him out.

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