Daniel LaPlante has a chance to walk free from prison — 29 years since he committed a terrible crime.
The judge at Middlesex Superior Court will review his request for reduced punishment, because in 2013 the Supreme Judicial Court decided to remove life sentences without parole for crimes which involved juveniles.
When he killed three innocent people, LaPlante was 17-years-old.
On Dec. 1, in 1987, he fatally shot Priscilla Gustavson, who was pregnant at the time. After that, he took her two kids and killed them in a vicious way. 7-year-old Abigail and 5-year-old William were drowned in separate bathtubs at their own home.
LaPlante raped Priscilla Gustavson, but the investigators couldn’t tell whether this happened before or after he shot her.
During that time, Daniel LaPlante was on a crime rampage that lasted for several weeks. Before this crime, he broke into many houses in the neighborhood, where he stole money, firearms and many other things.
He was arrested previously because he broke into the home of his girlfriend and threatened her family with a hatchet, but he was let out of jail because he paid $10,000 bail.
After the killings, he continued to commit burglaries and at one point he even held a woman as a hostage.
He was later arrested in Ayer a couple days later.
“He is so vile,” Gustafson’s sister, Elizabeth Williams, said in an interview. “My sister and her babies, they’re murdered. They’re gone. And he has all these privileges.”
The prosecutors are unpleasantly surprised and they are trying to rule out any possibility that a triple murderer walks out on parole.
“While the Commonwealth appreciates the role youth may play for persons who committed murders before they turned 18, we maintain that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that LaPlante’s chronological age played no role in the murders,” said Meghan Kelly, a spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan.
The former Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, who was in charge of LaPlante’s case, said that this person should stay incarcerated forever.
“He will kill again if ever released from prison,” said Reilly, who said that the crime scene was the worst thing he has ever seen.
Robert Barton, who was the Superior Court Judge at that time and who had sent LaPlante to jail, records that during his 22 years as a judge, that was one of the worst crimes he had to deal with.
“If I had the death penalty in those days, I would have sentenced him to the death penalty,” Barton said Wednesday. “It was a savage killing.”
To make it even worse, LaPlante sued prison officials because he had been labeled as a sex offender and didn’t have a permit to accessing the prison law library.