December 26, 2013

Killer at center of Vermont DNA plea dies in prison

While he went free for 14 years, the parents of his victim worked to establish the database that finally identified him.

The Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A Vermont man who killed a Stowe woman and remained free for 14 years while the victim’s parents urged the Legislature to create the DNA database that was used to identify him as their daughter’s killer, died in prison Tuesday.

Howard Godfrey, 67, of Kirby died in the medical unit of the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, said Vermont Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito. He did not give a cause of death, but said Godfrey’s death of natural causes was expected.

Godfrey was convicted in 2008 of the sexual assault and killing of Patricia Scoville, 28, and was serving a sentence of life without parole when he died.

Scoville’s body was found in a shallow grave at the Moss Glen Falls, a scenic spot outside Stowe village. She had ridden her bicycle there on Oct. 23, 1991. Her body was found several days later. She had been hit in the back of the head and sexually assaulted.

Scoville’s death went unsolved for years while her parents, Ann and David Scoville, of Canadaiga, N.Y., lobbied the Vermont Legislature to create a DNA database of people convicted of certain crimes.

David Scoville, reached at his New York home Tuesday, said Godfrey’s death marks the end of another chapter since the death of his daughter.

In 2002 the Scovilles received the National Crime Victim Service Award for their efforts.

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