Victim: Ralph “Jimmy” Tracy, 17
Age at time of murder: 17
Crime date: June 3, 1993
Crime location: Sharon
Partner in crime: Two others
Crimes: Rape, sexual mutilation, torture, & murder
Weapon: Person and pond water
Murder method: Beating and drowning
Convictions: Murder in the first degree
Sentence: Life without parole (LWOP) later reduced to 15 years to life
Incarceration status: Incarcerated
Pucillo and two others jumped Jimmy, beat him, removed his clothing, and used a stick to penetrate his rectum and strike his testicles. They then dragged Jimmy to the edge of Gavin’s Pond and held his head under water for an extended period of time. Pucillo’s LWOP sentence was reduced to 15-life and he has been denied parole several times.
Facts. We set forth the facts in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, reserving certain details for discussion in conjunction with certain issues raised. See Commonwealth v. Nichypor, 419 Mass. 209 , 210 (1994); Commonwealth v. Burnett, 417 Mass. 740 , 741 (1994). On the evening of June 3, 1993, the defendant, two companions, and the victim purchased a case of beer and a bottle of vodka, and then proceeded to an area known as “Sharon Woods” in Sharon. The four spent the next two hours drinking in a secluded area of the woods near Gavin’s Pond. While still in the woods at approximately 9 P.M., the defendant and his two companions secretly made plans to “jump” the victim. Soon thereafter, the three attacked the victim by wrapping a jacket or shirt around the victim’s head, knocking him to the ground, and beating him with their fists and feet. They also removed the victim’s clothing as he lay motionless on the ground. One of the defendant’s companions then found a stick with which he subsequently penetrated the victim’s rectum and struck his testicles. For his part, the defendant conceded that he “just kept hitting” and “kicking” the victim. The attack lasted about thirty minutes. At this point, the victim’s face was still covered, and there were no signs that he was either conscious or breathing. The defendant’s two companions then dragged the victim to the edge of the pond and held his head under water for an extended period. The defendant checked the victim’s pulse and found none. Finally, one of the defendant’s companions stabbed the victim in the neck. They then covered the half-submerged body with a blanket and sticks from the woods, and the three left the scene.
After finding the victim’s body and learning that he had last been seen in the company of the defendant and his two companions, the police interviewed the defendant on the morning of Saturday, June 5. He told them at that time that, on the night of the victim’s disappearance, he and his two companions had dropped off the victim at 8 P.M. at Wrentham Center. He then left the police station. At approximately 6 P.M., however, the defendant voluntarily returned to the station, and was
subsequently placed under arrest in connection with the victim’s death.
- By David Linton [email protected]
- May 31, 2017
WRENTHAM — A former local man has been denied parole for his role, when he was a teenager, in the torture and slaying of a 17-year-old local boy in 1993.
Christopher Pucillo, now 40, formerly of Wrentham, has been in prison for 23 years for the beating, stabbing and drowning of 17-year-old Ralph “Jimmy” Tracy on June 3, 1993 at Galvin’s Pond in Sharon.
He was convicted of first-degree murder and was originally sentenced in 1995 to life in prison without parole. But a state Supreme Judicial Court ruling in 2013 found that sending juvenile homicide offenders to jail without parole was unconstitutional.
Pucillo’s first bid for parole was denied in 2014.
The Parole Board voted 3-3 earlier this month, falling short of the two-thirds vote required for parole approval.
His case was heard in November and will be reviewed again this November, according to the board’s ruling.
Pucillo and his two co-defendants drank alcohol with Tracy in a secluded wooded area at Galvin’s Pond before they made plans to attack the youth, according to the parole board.
Tracy was knocked to the ground, beaten and sodomized with a stick. He was then dragged to the edge of the pond where his head was held under water before he was stabbed in the neck, according to the parole board.
Pucillo admitted to taking part in kicking and beating but said Shawn Fisher assaulted Tracy with the stick and stabbed him.
Shawn Fisher, who was 20 at the time, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in April 1995. He was denied parole in July 2009 and will be up again for review in July 2019.
The third man, Joseph Gauthier, then 23, of Foxboro, was acquitted of the murder.
The board said all three defendants over the years have told different versions of events that night.
The board noted Pucillo has had few disciplinary problems in prison, started efforts at rehabilitation before knowing he would be eligible for parole and has attained a college degree.
However, the board ruled Pucillo “has not yet demonstrated a level of rehabilitative progress that would make his release compatible with the welfare of society.”
The board heard testimony from supporters, including Pucillo’s mother and aunt, in addition to a forensic psychologist. They also heard from the victim’s sister, uncle, a Norfolk County prosecutor and the Sharon police chief.