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The Boston Globe

Magazine

Considering parole for a teen murderer

The case of Steven James, who was 17 when he killed Edward Sullivan with a baseball bat, puts Massachusetts’s new parole rules to the test.

THE CALL CAME ON FEBRUARY 21. Years before, Karen Sullivan Citrano had asked the Plymouth County district attorney’s office to let her know of any changes in the case that put her son’s killer behind bars for life. Now paperwork had been filed for a parole hearing. “To get this call on the anniversary,” Citrano says before her voice fades. She shakes her head, eyes moistening.

Exactly 20 years earlier, on the night of February 21, 1994, Citrano’s 22-year-old son, Edward Sullivan, was sitting in his van outside a D’Angelo sandwich shop in Rockland, waiting for his girlfriend to get off work at 10. That was the night Steven James and five of his buddies, out of school on break, assaulted two strangers outside an Abington bowling alley and another two at a Whitman video arcade. When they happened upon Sullivan and began to taunt and threaten him, he reached for a baseball bat from his van to defend himself. But the boys beat and kicked him nearly senseless, breaking a bottle over his head.

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