District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett hosted nearly one hundred law enforcement officials and representatives from victim services agencies at his annual Victim's Rights breakfast at Peabody City Hall.
"As we observe the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Victims of Crime Act, we are mindful of the vital work that police, prosecutors, victim advocates and others do on behalf of crime victims every day in Essex County and throughout the Commonwealth," Blodgett said. "It is important for us to come together as a community to renew our commitment to serving victims of crime. I applaud your hard work and dedication."
The keynote address was given by Dawn Santino whose sister, Beth Brodie, was murdered on November 18, 1992 by 16-year-old Richard Baldwin in Groveland. Baldwin is now eligible for parole due to the recent Massachusetts SJC decision to make all juveniles convicted of first degree murder eligible for parole after serving 15 years.
"For families such as Beth's, who thought that this part of their nightmare was over, this ruling has opened up old wounds and has subjected these families to having to face their loved one's killers again," DA Blodgett said. "As District Attorney, it has been my mission to mobilize my staff and provide all the necessary resources so that they may fight against the parole of these convicted killers."
As president of the Massachusetts District Attorney's Association and as a board member of the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance, Blodgett has also urged the legislature to enact laws that would require a juvenile convicted of first degree murder to serve at least 35 years before becoming eligible for parole, rather than the current 15 years.
"It is not ideal, but it is fair and will provide some measure of comfort for the families."