Man in killing that led to Vermont DNA law dies
By WILSON RING
The Associated Press | December 25,2013
FILE - In this Friday May 23, 2008 file photograph, Ann Scoville, center, is comforted by friends following a sentencing hearing in Hyde Park, Vt. The parent pushed for a DNA databank in Vermont to help find the killer of her daughter, Patricia Scoville. Scoville's 1991 rape and killing in Stowe went unsolved for 14 years, until authorities turned up a match with Howard Godfrey after his DNA was included in a database that was created at the urging of the Scovilles. Godfrey died Tuesday Dec. 24, 2013 at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vermont, according to prison officials. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
MONTPELIER — A Vermont man who killed a Stowe 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, died in prison Tuesday.
Howard Godfrey, 67, of Kirby died in the medical unit of the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, said Vermont Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito. He did not give a cause of death, but said Godfrey’s death of natural causes was expected.
Godfrey was convicted in 2008 of the sexual assault and killing of Patricia Scoville, 28, 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 Canadaiga, N.Y., lobbied the Vermont 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 continue 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.