NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

January 28, 2014

Life without parole is not really that anymore

To the editor:

Nov. 18, 1992, is forever etched into so many of our hearts forever. We were all between the ages of 15, 16, too young to understand why a boy our age would kill a pretty and sweet girl our age. It was the first time I imagined dying. I had not known or heard of any local teen being killed by another.

I was lying on my bedroom floor scouring the newspaper following this heinous crime, hoping that her killer would face justice. I remember the helpless feelings that came with news of her murder. I remember feeling so sorry for her family and friends. How would they now move forward? How would her class move forward without her?

It was and still is such a terrible time in Pentucket and Groveland history. The passing of Beth Brodie defined our lives and deeply affected our community. Richard Baldwin took Beth’s life in a terrible way. A baseball bat was used. I’ll spare the details, as even in our imagination it’s so hard to fathom.

Despite this horror, our highest court in Massachusetts is now considering parole for her killer. What are they thinking? To imagine him walking among us is terrifying. I am now the parent of a daughter and cannot imagine how her parents are feeling about this ruling. I cannot understand how such a ruling can happen.

The Brodies and dozens of other families of victims are being re-tried here. Colleen Ritzer’s family has not even faced her killer in a trial yet and already they know he could potentially be freed someday. Please consider those that are family and friends of the murdered. Knowing the murderer won’t ever be out of prison is the only justice for them.

Kelly Hale

Manchester, N.H.

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