Springfield investigation rekindles memories of last serial kill - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield investigation rekindles memories of last serial killer

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(Western Mass News file photo) (Western Mass News file photo)

The world is focusing on a heinous crime in the City of Homes, but the investigation on Page Boulevard in Springfield brings back haunting memories for many residents.

Alfred Gaynor was a case that drew international attention to the city.

The bone-chilling details unfolded in a courtroom back in 1998 and later led to a life behind bars.

Today, as the investigation on Page Boulevard developed, many couldn't help but think back to when Gaynor cut several lives short.

"This fear was permeating the entire community...a serial killer on the loose, not knowing when he would strike next," said former Western Mass News reporter Ray Hershel.

Joanne Thomas, Joyce Dickerson, Rosemary Downes - those are just a few of the victims who’s lives were taken at the hand of Alfred Gaynor, a handy-man turned serial killer who admitted to murdering at least nine women and a child during the 90s.

"Women were being brutally raped.  They were strangled and it did instill fear," Hershel added.

It started with a string of murders that had alarming similarities.

"When these murders were going on women in the area were frightened, many of them getting mace, get some protection," Hershel explained.
Detectives were offered unlimited overtime.  No one rested while a killer remained at large.

"It was all hands on-deck," Hershel added.

Gaynor’s trial for the murders of four women began in Springfield.

A building tension came to a head in the courtroom...

"The emotions were running so high that a relative of one of the murder victims attacked Gaynor in the courtroom," Hershel said.

Security measures were stepped up in court following that day and the case was later moved to Pittsfield.

Fast forward to 2010, Gaynor admitted to killing five others.

"It did have a lingering effect here in western Massachusetts throughout this ordeal before he was arrested, once he was arrested and tried," Hershel noted.

Gaynor will remain behind bars for the remainder of his life.  He is serving concurrent life sentences without the possibility for parole.

While the case on Page Boulevard is still unfolding, Gaynor remains a bitter memory in Springfield’s history.

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