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July 8, 2013

Killer in '98 city case denied parole

The local woman who brutally murdered a Gloucester mother, stabbing the woman 108 times in her Mansfield Street home in 1998, has been denied her bid for parole in a unanimous decision released last week by the Massachusetts Parole Board.

Barbara Goucher pleaded guilty to her crime in 1999, 500 days after she stabbed Florence “Bunny” Munroe, then tried to cover up her involvement by seeking out a false alias and thoroughly cleaning the woman’s home. Now, more than 14 years later, she failed to show sufficient remorse for her violent actions, and showed no history of participating in drug rehabilitation programs despite the fact that drugs fueled the Munroe’s murder, according to the board’s official decision.

“Ms. Goucher’s responses focused on her remorse for taking Ms. Munroe’s life; however, she appeared to struggle with appreciating that the level of violence she inflected puts her in a small category of offenders,” the board wrote. “The (Munroe) family and board members expressed concern that Ms. Goucher may not appreciate the gravity of how many people were affect by Ms. Munroe’s death.”

Goucher has served 15 years of a life sentence for the second degree murder charge, and this year marked her first eligibility for parole.

According to court documents, Munroe had allowed Goucher, who was reportedly indigent and drug-addicted, to live in her home for a period of time, but eventually asked her to leave. Goucher returned to the home and chased Munroe around the house, grasping for her purse and stabbing her in a pursuit of money and drugs, according to court documents. Goucher had stolen a $50 hand-held gaming device and other items from Munroe and her then-13-year-old daughter while living in their home, and she was unable to repay the debt.

Munroe’s children — including the daughter, who discovered her body after the slaying — spoke against Goucher’s release at her March 26 parole hearing.

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