"Final chapter" of 1980 homicide victim's story to be told on TV

Louisa Scott
Louisa Scott (Courtesy of Beverly Canfield)

Homicide victim Louisa Scott's family members, who have fought to ensure that her killer remains incarcerated, say they participated in a television show about her case that will air Sunday on Investigation Discovery because they look at it as Scott's "final chapter."

"On the Case" with Paula Zahn will air at 10 p.m., and Scott's sister, Beverly Canfield, said she would be watching at home in Lebanon, Conn., with her husband and friends.

The family wants people to know who Louisa Scott was and to warn would-be victims of serial rapist Edward F. Boyle Jr., who fatally strangled the 20-year-old on May 31, 1980, in Coventry.

Boyle, now 56, is incarcerated at the Brooklyn Correctional Center. Scott's family is hoping he remains incarcerated at least until his parole expires in November 2024. The parole board has notified the family that they will be reviewing his case annually, as required by law, but that there will be no more public parole hearings.

"There's no more parole hearings," Canfield said during a phone interview this week. "There's nothing more we can do for her."

The episode, called "River of Tears," was filmed in New York City, Glastonbury and North Windham, where Scott is buried. Canfield said she sent the production team documents and photos and that she and her brother, Tim Scott, provided interviews. Also featured on the show will be Coventry police officers Ron Doughty and Lyndon Wilmot and two of the victim's friends, Lori Strong Bender and Cindy Trudeau, who is thought to be one of the last people to see Scott alive.

According to court records and news stories, Boyle met the 20-year-old Scott at a roller-skating rink, killed her during a sexual assault attempt and threw her body into the Skungamaug River. He also committed a series of rapes in Manchester in the 1970s and 1980, forcing women off the street at knifepoint and raping them. He was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter for killing Scott because the state lacked the evidence to secure a more punitive murder conviction. He was sentenced to 20 years for all of the offenses and was released in 1999.

Boyle was re-arrested in 2004 for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old in Groton and sentenced to five years in prison. At his sentencing in 2006, Superior Court Judge Susan B. Handy told Boyle he was a sexual predator who should be locked up forever, but that he was getting a reduced sentence because the teenage girl he raped was too fragile to testify at trial.

Released again in November 2009 under strict supervision, he was charged within 15 months with going out of the range of his GPS tracking device and missing a sexual offender treatment center appointment.

During his 2011 parole hearing, the Board of Pardons and Paroles received information that Boyle was corresponding with a 14-year-old girl from his prison cell. They denied him parole. When he appeared before the parole board again in 2016, the panel denied him release when he failed to explain why he continued to prey on women.

The family has never listened to or read the confession that Boyle provided to police because, Canfield said, they don't want to live the last minutes of Scott's life through him. Canfield said she has never unsealed an envelope of money from Scott's wallet that was returned to her after the court proceedings.

"To this day, I don't think he's accepted responsibility for what he did, and he never will," Canfield said. "Not being able to do that, he'll never be anything different than what he is."

The show, she said, would not change how the family feels.

"We're just trying to make people aware of her," Canfield said.

k.florin@theday.com

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