By Mike LaBella
---- — GROVELAND — A candlelight vigil to remember murder victim Beth Brodie of Groveland and to protest the possible parole of her killer, will be held Feb. 1 at the Bagnall School in Groveland.
Beth Brodie was 15 years old in November of 1992 when Richard Baldwin, who’d she dated a few times, beat her to death with an aluminum baseball bat. Baldwin, who was 16 at the time, had recently moved from Peabody to Groveland.
The boy was tried as an adult and was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court in 1997, saying he did not get a fair trial, but the court ruled against him.
Last month, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole. The court ruled that life sentences without parole for killers under 18 are unconstitutional because they fail to take into account the potential for young offenders to be rehabilitated.
Friends of the Brodie family are now fighting to stop Baldwin from being paroled. The public is invited to the vigil which will include songs and prayers.
Danielle Avery, a long-time friend of the Brodie family, started the “Justice for Beth” group on Facebook and is asking the public to sign a petition, as well as write letters to the governor, the district attorney, the parole board and to the media.
“Beth doesn’t have a voice anymore, so we are her voice,” Avery said.
Along with former classmates, Sabrina Schwanke Condon, Elizabeth Perkins Moran and Miranda Scott Godzyk (and their husbands) started the public “Justice for Beth Brodie” Facebook page, which had more than 2,000 “likes” as of yesterday. They also created the “Justiceforbethbrodie.weebly.com” website (where you can sign the petition) as well as a Twitter account @justiceforbethb.
Friends Kerri Holleman and Amy Hoyt Davis are spearheading the Butterflies for Beth campaign, knitting and crocheting butterflies to be attached to different accessories. Gerry Vass is spearheading the News Avalanche Campaign, where volunteers call, write, email or Tweet to different media outlets.
A 1994 Pentucket graduate who wishes to remain anonymous, is donating $999 in materials such as T-shirts and accessories from the store he works for and is also funding Justice for Beth bracelets.
Joe D’Amore of Groveland asks that if you can’t attend the Candlelight Vigil, to please join the vigil in spirit and reflection by placing an electric candle in your window on Saturday, Feb. 1, and keeping it in place until Sunday, Feb. 9.
Candlelight Vigil for Beth Brodie
When: Feb. 1 at 5 p.m. (please arrive at 4:45 p.m)
Where; Bagnall School, 253 School St., Groveland
What to bring: Candles or lights.
Please register on Facebook by searching for “Candlelight Vigil for Beth Brodie”