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Prison escape foiled, DA says

Nurse accused of smuggling in saw blades, key

Che Blake Sosa, serving a lifelong sentence at Walpole for two rapes, is also accused of stabbing his lawyer. Che Blake Sosa, serving a lifelong sentence at Walpole for two rapes, is also accused of stabbing his lawyer. (Ted Fitzgerald/ Boston Herald/ Pool)
By Shelley Murphy
Globe Staff / November 26, 2008
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A nurse was charged yesterday with trying to help one of the state's most dangerous inmates escape from the prison at Walpole by smuggling him saw blades and a handcuff key, according to Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating.

When correction officials and State Police arrested the nurse, the plot "was underway" to free 39-year-old Che Blake Sosa, who is serving life in prison for a series of rapes and awaiting trial for allegedly stabbing his own lawyer, Keating said.

"Sosa is accused and convicted of serious violent crimes, and the public should be reassured that this elaborate scheme has been foiled," Keating said.

Deborah Girouard, 44, of Ashby, a nurse who was contracted by a private company to work at MCI-Cedar Junction, was held overnight at the State Police barracks in Foxborough and is scheduled to be arraigned this morning in Wrentham District Court on charges of delivering an article to an inmate and aiding the escape of a prisoner.

It was unclear last night how long she has worked at the prison and what her relationship is with Sosa, who is housed in a super-maximum security single-man cell in the prison's Department Disciplinary Unit. He is essentially serving a life sentence for rape convictions this year and last year, because he would not be eligible for parole until he is 118 years old.

"I don't know what this nurse was thinking," said Steven Kenneway, president of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union. "If she's done what she's accused of, she endangered the lives of every employee and inmate at the facility and every citizien of the surrounding communities."

Kenneway said the charges highlight the importance of the screening process for contract personnel hired to work at the prisons.

"Inmates like Che Sosa have nothing but time to try to figure out a way to get out of prison and when they get help like this, it puts us all at risk," Kenneway said.

Authorities would not disclose yesterday how the saw blades and handcuff key were passed to Sosa, or how the plot was discovered.

Sosa has a long history of violence. The convicted serial rapist was accused of stabbing two correction officers with a piece of fencing in his cell at Walpole two years ago.

He is also accused of stabbing his lawyer in the face and collarbone with a makeshift plastic knife in February 2007 during jury selection in a Dedham courtroom for his trial on charges of raping a Quincy woman in 2001. His lawyer survived the attack, which authorities say was unprovoked.

Sosa, defended by a new lawyer, was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in prison.

Earlier this year, the 5-foot-11, 240-pound Sosa was shackled to a chair and flanked by about a dozen court and correction officers during his trial in Suffolk Superior Court for the 1995 rape of a Jamaica Plain woman. He was convicted and sentenced to 35 to 40 years, to be served after his previous sentence.

Testifying in his own defense, Sosa told jurors, "I love women, all type of women. But, I certainly don't rape them."

On the website friendsbeyondthewall.com, Sosa offers a profile of himself, lists his release date as "unknown," and tells potential pen pals, "don't be dismayed by my projected release date."

He writes that in the 20 years he has spent in and out of prison, this is the first ad he has placed seeking companionship.

He says he gives loyalty and expects it back.

"I'm looking for a friendship and I am open for more, if that is to be," Sosa wrote. "I'm extremely passionate and my empathy is far and wide. Thus, I seek a woman of like makeup. She has to be compassionate, nonjudgmental."

Globe correspondent John M. Guilfoil contributed to this report. Shelley Murphy can be reached at shmurphy@globe.com.

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