• Man in killing that led to Vermont DNA law dies
     | December 26,2013


    SPRINGFIELD — A Vermont man who killed a Vermont 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 — has died in prison.

    Howard Godfrey, 67, of Kirby, died early Tuesday in the medical unit of the Springfield prison, state Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito said Tuesday.

    Pallito did not give a specific cause of death but said it was from natural causes.

    Godfrey was convicted in 2008 of the sexual assault and killing of Patricia Scoville, 28, of Stowe 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 Canadaigua, N.Y., lobbied the state 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.

    “We always say there is no such thing as closure other than having Patty back, but this is a closure of sorts,” said Scoville, who along with his wife continues to speak in favor of DNA database proposals since the Vermont law led to their daughter’s killer.

    In 2002 the Scovilles received the National Crime Victim Service Award for their efforts. And after Godfrey’s 2008 sentencing, the Scovilles were honored by state officials for their efforts to enact Vermont’s DNA databank. The state’s DNA laboratory was named in their daughter’s memory.

    Godfrey gave a DNA sample in 2000 after he was convicted of a non-fatal aggravated assault of a woman in 1996 in Morrisville, not far from where Scoville was killed. That sample was not entered into the national database that linked him to Patricia Scoville’s killing until 2005. He was arrested several days later.

    Godfrey was convicted in 2008 of aggravated murder, a crime that in Vermont carries an automatic sentence of life without parole.

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