BOSTON —Daniel LaPlante, convicted in the murder of a pregnant woman and her two children over 30 years ago, will officially have to serve 45 years of prison time before he is offered a chance of parole.
LaPlante, formerly of Townsend, appealed to have an earlier parole eligibility date in state Supreme Judicial Court earlier this year. That appeal was denied by the court on Thursday, June 5, officially determining that LaPlante must serve 45 years of his three consecutive life sentences before the possibility of parole is offered to him.
LaPlante, then 17, killed 33-year-old Priscilla Gustafson and her two children, 5-year-old William and 7-year-old Abigail, on Dec. 1, 1987. According to court documents, LaPlante broke into Gustafson’s house with a loaded gun, put William in the closet, tied Priscilla to the bed and raped her before shooting her. He drowned William and Abigail in the bathtub, and fled.
LaPlante was originally sentenced to three life sentences without parole shortly after, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that juveniles cannot be given that sentence.
LaPlante was brought back before court in 2017 for a resentencing hearing and tried to get a reduced sentence, which was denied. This latest appeal was meant to lessen the years he would have to serve before being eligible for parole.
“The resentencing judge concluded that ‘the evidence submitted at the hearing did not reflect that at the time of the murders he displayed the hallmark features of a juvenile, that is, immaturity, impetuosity and failure to appreciate risks and consequences,'” the determination reads.”Rather, she found that the defendant ‘acted deliberately and intentionally’ when committing these ‘three distinct and brutal murders.'”
The court concluded that LaPlante’s sentencing does not violate any code or statue and his life sentences and term length before parole will stand.
Jon Winkler: jwinkler@nashoba valleyvoice.com