James Francis Connelly
15 Years Old

April 15, 1963 to January 22, 1979

James Francis Connelly was born in Brockton, Massachusetts and was the 2nd child of Jim and Barbara Connelly.

It was Easter Sunday and he was 3 weeks early. He was in a hurry to get here. He was called the most "beautiful baby in the nursery" by all who saw him. He was 5 pounds, 13 ounces and 22 inches long. He had a big sister Kathy at home who had learned to walk that same day. She was 13 months old. She couldn't wait to see her baby brother.

When Jimmy was 2 months old, he had to have casts on his feet. Every Wednesday night, his parents had to soak them off, and the doctors had to do stretching exercises. It was painful and he would be screaming. Every Thursday morning the doctors put new casts back on. This went on for eight months.

Jimmy was a very happy baby. He loved turnips and mashed potatoes as an infant. He and his big sister were inseparable. We called him "Jim Jim".

Through the years, Jimmy learned to walk, swim, read, write, and ride a bike early. He was kind to the older neighbors, shoveling snow and mowing their grass, taking no money from them.

On his fifteenth birthday, on a birthday shopping trip dressed in a white shirt, white "farmer jeans" and white Pro-Keds, he helped four stranded ladies as he changed their flat tire. he got grease all over himself. One lady went to offer him money, as he started to refuse, another one of the ladies stopped her and said, "Don't give that to him! He's a man, he SHOULD help us."

He had a puzzled look. She didn't know Jimmy would never have taken their money. She made his mother very angry! Jimmy laughed at his mother and said it didn't bother him.

He was the brother of Kathleen, Patricia, Barbara, and Terence. He was handsome and strong, 6' 1 and 1/2" tall. He walked straight with a bounce to his step, and he liked to wear a suede "head hat". He excelled at karate. He lifted weights, played chess and pool, and did everything well. He was teaching his little brother. He had even written down what Terry was capable of lifting in weights to make sure he wouldn't hurt himself. He wrote he must only lift 25 pounds. He wants to do more. We still have those notes.

He had chores. He shared kitchen duties with his sisters. He tried many times to get out of them by performing all kinds of feats (100 push ups one handed, chin-ups, swimming underwater for five minutes, telling jokes). He had so much strength, he gave so many laughs. Anything to get out of doing those dishes. Sometimes he got away with it. Sometimes.

The day after Jimmy was buried, his 35 year old father suffered a major heart attack, and although he tried, he was never able to return to work. He died eight years and eight days after Jimmy.

Jimmy was a beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, and godson. He would be the proud uncle of several nieces and nephews. He will be forever missed.

Our family has chosen to perpetuate Jimmy's memory by reaching out to victims like ourselves, and we will be present to try to block the parole of his murderer. We are Jimmy's voice.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

At 2:30 on the afternoon of January 22, 1979, Jimmy left his home in Long Island, New York. Waving goodbye with a "thanks, Mom", he got into the back seat of his friend's car and his mother watched them drive off.

Jimmy's plans for the rest of the day were to paint an apartment with his friend Joe, and return home at 7:30 pm. His family received a call at 7:30 pm that there was "trouble" with the car and he would be at least two to three hours late. Jimmy never returned.

He was found dead, stabbed 22 times in the back of his head, in his heart, lungs and back. His throat had been cut three times. He had been stabbed while being chased 354 feet through an Industrial Park where he collapsed.

His murderer was 19 year old John Duffy, who also was in the car. They had only met that day.

Duffy was a fugitive for almost two years. He was hidden by his family and his family's organized crime associates. He turned himself in July of 1980 and was let out on bail. While out on bail awaiting trial, he tried to kill a woman on January 23, 1981! She survived.

After he was convicted of the murder of Jimmy in November of 1981, the second victim dropped the charges, believing he would go to jail for life.

At the sentencing, the judge stated he felt terrible sentencing a young man to life in prison. He was sentenced on January 20, 1982 to 20 years to life in New York State. Jimmy's family was not allowed to speak.

John Duffy will have served 20 years and be eligible for parole in September of 2001.

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James Connelly