Charles Jaynes appeared on video before the Massachusetts parole board Tuesday, saying he was there not to seek his release but to admit his guilt in the 1997 kidnapping and murder of a 10-year-old boy from Cambridge.
“I’m here to take responsibility for my murder of Jeffrey Curley,” Jaynes said. “The DOC [Department of Correction] does not make it easy for an inmate when he wants to acknowledge that he’s guilty of the crime that he’s been convicted of, and the parole board is the only way … I have to be accountable for my actions.”
But the Curley family told the board they heard no evidence during the three-hour hearing that Jaynes was reformed or that he was sorry for what he had done.
“This guy’s a con man,” said Robert Curley, Jeffrey’s father. “Just watching him here today, it’s almost comical. He can twist things, he can change things to fit his own agenda.”
Members of the parole board expressed their own concerns; Jaynes’s history of getting into trouble and making threats in prison, including a recent disciplinary case; his lack of participation in programs for sex offenders, which he said he was not ready for because he had not admitted his guilt to himself; and choosing to express his remorse before the parole board, rather than doing so privately through his attorneys or the Middlesex district attorney’s office.
“Doesn’t that seem to benefit you, by making this declaration in a public forum rather than contacting the district attorney’s office, like you mentioned, or contacting police?” chair Gloriann Moroney asked. “I think you have a lot of work to do, Mr. Jaynes. I think you have a tremendous amount of work to do in terms of day-to-day adjustment, as well as addressing the nature of your sexual deviance.”
The board did not issue a decision. It will accept public comments in the case for two weeks.
Jaynes is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in the child’s killing. His codefendant, Salvatore Sicari, was convicted of first-degree murder in a separate trial and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
On Tuesday, Jaynes described how he and Sicari kidnapped the child, whose family they were friendly with, by promising him a bike and luring him to a car. Jaynes said he then smothered him with a rag soaked in gasoline and took him to his apartment in New Hampshire, where he and Sicari placed his body in a plastic container they dumped in a river in Maine. A medical examiner later determined the child had been sexually assaulted.
The case drew national attention and sparked a debate over whether to reinstate the death penalty in Massachusetts.
In 2012, when Jaynes went to court to seek permission to change his name to Manasseh-Invictus Auric Thutmose V to better practice Wicca, he said he would not seek parole. That would require him to “lie and admit to a murder I didn’t commit.” A judge denied his request for a name change.
On Tuesday, Jaynes said he began feeling that he should admit his guilt about five or six years ago, in large part because he joined a church group in prison.
“We have a strong church where I am, and we have other men who have been open and forthright about their crimes,” Jaynes said Tuesday.
Jeffrey’s mother, Barbara Curley, asked the parole board to deny his bid and not grant him another hearing for at least five years so her family does not have to go through the process soon.
Her two older sons, she told Jaynes, “will never be able to trust people around their own children as a result of your horrific actions against their brother.”
“I will never have another happy kid,” she said. “My heart is broken. I will be haunted and devastated for the rest of my life.”
Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 617-929-2043.