After son's murder, father speaks out against death penalty

HARTFORD — As part of the Voices of Experience Tour, Robert Curley, the father of a son murdered in 1997, will share his unique perspective on the death penalty on Sunday and Monday.

In 1997, Curley’s 10 year-old son, Jeffrey, was brutally murdered by two pedophiles in Cambridge, Mass. The crime made headlines both in the greater Boston area and nationally, and helped spur an effort in Massachusetts to bring back the state’s death penalty.

After the crime, Curley strongly favored the death penalty and actively worked for its reinstatement. Though the death penalty could not apply to his son’s murderers, at the time he thought it might help prevent future crimes against children.
His views on the death penalty began to undergo a transformation when he met Bud Welch, whose daughter Julie was murdered in the Oklahoma City Bombing. Welch was the first person whom Curley had met who was in a similar situation and opposed to the death penalty. Also impacting his views was the execution of Manny Babbitt, a Vietnam War veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the death penalty’s application gave him a new perspective on the issue: “The way I grew up – we were kind of poor, to be honest, and it dawned on me that I’m closer to the guy who gets wrongly executed than to the guy who can afford a dream team of lawyers.”

Curley’s story is the subject of Brian MacQuarrie’s 2009 book, The Ride.

Curley’s speaking schedule is:


11:00 am: North Haven Congregational Church at 28 Church St., North Haven.
12:45 pm: Unitarian Society of New Haven at 700 Hartford Turnpike, Hamden.
4:00 pm: Wilton Quaker Meeting House at 317 New Canaan Rd., Wilton.
3:00 pm: Quinnipiac Law School at 275 Mount Carmel Ave., Hamden.
6:30 pm: Christ Church Cathedral at 45 Church St., Hartford.

For information contact Bo Chamberlin at or (614) 581-5109 or click here.


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