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We published a story this week about 35 letters of support for Ayer brothers Daniel and Peter McGuane, written in an effort to win them bail. The letters spoke about the brothers being “respectful, “polite,” and “happy,” among other things.

We wonder what these letters really mean.

It’s not uncommon, particularly in small towns, for people to stand by someone they know who is said to have seriously harmed someone else. A case in point:

In one of our local towns, an elderly man, who lived in New Hampshire, owned a small commercial building. His plan was that the rent would support him in his old age. But the man and woman he rented it to didn’t pay the rent and even sublet the building and kept these rents for themselves. Their reasoning was that the old man was half blind and crippled, unable to pursue those who were cheating him. If he died, they told people, it would take years for the two states to work things out. In the meantime, the building was theirs.

This situation continued for 5 years during which the elderly man had to rely on the kindness of strangers for food and, after his old house burned down, lived in one end of a burned-out mobile home brought from the dump. He had no heat, no running water, no plumbing. Not until his only living relative, a distant niece, learned about the situation did the two people get evicted and did the court order them to repay $26,000, which they never did.

What was amazing was to see their longtime friends gather around them. They hadn’t hurt them, they said, and so they remained their friends.

The fact that 35 people wrote letters saying how good these brothers were to them means very little. The fact remains that Kelly Proctor is dead and these brothers stand accused of killing him.

We are also concerned about the many people who claim that the brothers were bullies. What kind of message do these letters send to their alleged victims — especially when they come from teachers.

Until the case is heard by a jury of their peers, the accused young men should remain in prison.

Because no matter how they treated anyone else, Kelly Proctor is still dead.

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