Canton mother fighting against parole of son’s killer

A Canton mother is preparing to fight efforts for her son’s killer to be freed from prison. 

“You sit here and realize you have to breathe the same air as he is breathing. You say to yourself, ‘How dare he breathe air when my son does not get to breathe air,”Jeanne Quinn said of her fourth time she has had to try to keep her son’s killer in prison. 

Quinn plans to appear at the parole hearing for Rod Matthews in March.

Nearly 30 years ago, Matthews lured 14-year-old Shaun Ouillette into the woods in Canton and beat him to death with a baseball bat. Matthews said he wanted to know what if felt like to kill somebody. 

Matthews was the first juvenile to be tried as an adult in Massachusetts and was later sentenced to life with the chance for parole. 

After the sentence, Quinn worked to strengthen Massachusetts law on punishing underage offenders. 

Quinn says much of her work was undone by a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court requiring a chance at parole for all juveniles convicted of murder. 

Quinn said she saw the issue most recently when family of Danvers High School teacher Collen Ritzer said they were “offended” that Ritzer’s killer, Philip Chism, could possibly be released from prison in the future. 

While Quinn will not be allowed to directly address Mathews, she said she has a clear message. 

"I will do everything that is humanly possible to keep you in [jail] until there is a tag on your toe like the one that was on my son’s," Quinn said. 

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