November 12, 1997 in Nation/World

Juror Upset Over Judge’s Decision

Boston Globe
 

Hours after watching his difficult verdict reduced, one juror who convicted Louise Woodward of murder - only to see her set free - called the judge’s decision “a complete injustice.”

Edward Welch, who supported the decision to lower Woodward’s conviction to manslaughter, said he felt like he was “having a heart attack” when Superior Court Judge Hiller Zobel announced he was reducing Woodward’s sentence from life in prison to the 279 days she has already spent in jail.

And he invoked the memory of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen, whom Woodward was convicted of killing.

“I’m flabbergasted,” Welch, 33, a property adjustor, told the Globe. “I’m appalled. This is unbelievable. This is a complete injustice to that child’s life, and this is not a reasonable sentence.”

In the days since Woodward’s Oct. 30 conviction for second-degree murder, several jurors have expressed regret that manslaughter was not among their verdict options - in part, because it meant sending a 19-year-old to prison for life.

But jurors always defended their decision. And the ones who spoke publicly maintained that the British au pair should be held responsible for the death of Deborah and Sunil Eappen’s son.

Monday’s sentencing, Welch said, did not accomplish that at all.

“Nobody is remembering that dead child,” Welch continued. “I cannot fathom the sympathy that has been given to Louise Woodward. It is ridiculous. Louise Woodward served 200-some-odd days, and that baby will never be able to take 200-some-odd steps.”

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