, Gloucester, MA

August 20, 2013

Parents hope for maximum sentence for son's killer

Gloucester man was stabbed in 2011

By John Toole
Staff Writer

---- — NASHUA, N.H. — A Gloucester couple whose son was murdered will ask a New Hampshire judge to impose the maximum sentence on their son’s killer tomorrow.

Cathy and Paul Frontiero Jr. will be in Hillsborough County Superior Court South in Nashua along with friends and relatives of their son, Paul Frontiero III, slain two years ago while coming to the aid of his neighbors.

Matthew Packer, 19 at the time of the fatal stabbing in Nashua, will be sentenced after pleading guilty to second-degree murder last month.

“We’re both going to give a statement,” Cathy Frontiero said yesterday of their plans to speak at the sentencing.

The Attorney General’s Office will request the judge impose a 60-year-to-life sentence, which the victim’s parents approve, she said.

“The maximum,” is what Frontiero said she wants in a sentence for Packer.

“It’s been devastating to all of us,” she said. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Paul Frontiero III was 27 when he was stabbed outside his Nashua apartment building while helping his 29-year-old neighbors, Jill Arnold and Kathryn Libby, in October 2011.

“We’re both going to give a statement about Paul’s life and how his not being here has affected us,” his mother said. “Hopefully, I will be able to hold it together and speak.”

She will be surrounded by relatives and friends who still struggle to comprehend how Paul Frontiero III lost his life.

Packer’s attorneys are seeking a shorter sentence, 30 years to life, she said.

Prosecutors are looking for more.

“Obviously, they are hoping for the maximum sentence to keep Matthew Packer off the street,” Frontiero said.

The judge must sentence Packer to at least 30 years, but can give him up to 60 years to life, Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said.

Hinckley would not disclose the sentence he is requesting, saying it would be addressed in the courtroom.

Packer doesn’t have to speak, but Cathy Frontiero would like to hear from him.

“I’d like him to at least show some remorse,” she said. “So far, nothing. He doesn’t look at us in court. There is a blank stare and he looks away.”

Paul Frontiero III, a 2003 graduate of Londonderry High School, was an emergency medical technician in Dorchester who wanted to become a paramedic and work on a medical helicopter transport team, his mother said.

His October funeral from Greely Funeral Home and Gloucester’s St. Ann’s Church drew a large contingent of emergency response personnel, in addition to scores of family members, relatives and friends. He had three brothers.

Frontiero was also part of a mission group from Cape Ann’s Holy Family Parish that carried out projects in Cevicos, Dominican Republic. He had been scheduled to join the group for a return trip to the Dominican before he was killed.

He had followed his mother, a 51-year-old nurse, into the health care field.

He was from a family of artists, including both his dad and his grandfather, Paul Frontiero Sr., well known on Cape Ann.

John O’Toole may be reached at