, Gloucester, MA


July 10, 2013


It’s been more than three years now since an exasperating state parole board wrongly set free a convicted armed robber who was serving three concurrent life terms, then would use his freedom to kill a Woburn police officer, sparking a series of board changes and reforms.

Now, there is another clear sign that the new board is working.

The state parole panel last week shot down a parole bid from a Gloucester woman who brutally murdered the local woman and mother with whom she was temporarily staying, stabbing her 108 times in her Mansfield Street home in 1998.

Barbara Goucher, who pleaded guilty to slaying Florence “Bunny” Munroe, made what she and her attorney thought might be a good case for release in her first parole hearing; Goucher told the board she had focused her time on occupational and educational classes, and she was featured in a 2007 Boston Globe article about a program that connects military veterans with assistance dogs trained in jails.

That’s nice — but Essex County District Attorney Elin Graydon rightfully noted that Goucher had not been part of that program now since 2007, and the board found that Groucher failed to show sufficient remorse and showed no history of participating in drug rehabilitation programs despite drugs fueling her actions at the time of the vicious murder.

With that, the parole board said no in the name of public safety. That, indeed, is how the system is supposed to work.

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