Victim's family reacts to possibility of murderers' parole - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Victim's family reacts to possibility of convicted juvenile murderers getting parole

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Stephen Solimene can't believe that there is a possibility that a teen who viciously murdered his sister could be paroled.

"It was horrible. It was a horrible thing to hear," Solimene said. "Just that chance of parole, just that chance. We have to relive this whole thing."

Solimene's family is one of 45 across Massachusetts now facing this reality. The Mass. Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Dec. 24 that juveniles convicted of murder must be offered parole after 15 years in prison.

That decision follows the supreme court ruling from 2012, which prevents mandatory life sentences, without parole, for juveniles.

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett says it's a bitter pill to swallow. In his county alone nine juveniles are eligible for parole, cases he believes were tried correctly.

Blodgett, who is also president of the Mass. District Attorney's Association, has sent a letter to the legislature asking that it increase the period juveniles convicted of murder may be paroled from 15 to 35 years.

"We're talking about cases where there was a proven element of premeditation... And in many extreme atrocity and cruelty and even some cases where there was an element frankly of torture," he said.

All elements involved in the murder of Solimene's sister, 42-year-old Janet Downing, are gruesome. She was stabbed 98 times by her 15-year-old neighbor Edward O'Brien in her own home.

Downing's daughter Erin has started an online petition, an appeal to the governor to block O'Brien's possible parole.

Solimene says it should never happen.

"It's plain and simple. Call it like it is. They are killers. They are convicted killers," he said.

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