The final legal step in a nearly eight-year ordeal of criminal investigations and courtroom twists came Tuesday for a family from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, whose mother was shot and killed in 2010.
However, the family said after the sentencing hearing that they believe the convicts got off way too easily.
“We were hoping it would go to trial,” said Matt O’Hagan, one of the sons of Pat O’Hagan, a grandmother of nine from Chelmsford who retired to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
O’Hagan, 78, was shot and killed in 2010 when three men broke into her home to steal cash and prescription pills.
“She volunteered with a lot of groups and she helped a lot of people,” remembered Shawn O’Hagan, another of Pat O’Hagan’s children. “She looked for nothing in return. And I think that’s a legacy we can all live by: give back.”
Tuesday, Keith Baird and Richard Fletcher were sentenced for kidnapping and burglary, after plea deals saw murder charges dropped.
The kidnapping charges were brought because investigators said the men held O’Hagan against her will while she feared physical harm.
Michael Norrie was sentenced in late 2015 and is already serving at least 27 years for murder. He pulled the trigger during that break-in.
Tuesday, Baird declined to address the court. Fletcher spoke briefly before the sentence was finalized.
"I’d like to apologize to the O’Hagan family,” Fletcher said. “There’s no amount of time to change what I’ve done.”
Judge Michael Kupersmith told Baird and Fletcher that while they might not have planned for Pat O’Hagan to die, their involvement in the break-in that turned violent was “cowardly” and “despicable.”
The judge said each would have to work hard to ensure they stay on the straight and narrow following their eventual releases from prison.
The victim’s children, who traveled to Vermont for the sentencing hearing from Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and Michigan, said they were disappointed that Baird and Fletcher’s 15 year minimum sentences—with credit for time served—will overlap with sentences for unrelated crimes.
The O’Hagans perceive that as meaning only a few measly years for their mom’s brutal death.
Prosecutors worried about taking the case to trial, because of several potential problems with evidence.
“Hopefully they don’t hurt anybody else, and if they can be productive in the future, that’s good for everybody,” Pat O’Hagan’s son Mark said of Baird and Fletcher.
“Hopefully we can all, in our way, not forget it, but put it behind us and move forward,” added Terry O’Hagan, another of the victim’s children.
It was only a very small consolation after losing their mom and the nearly eight-year-long legal marathon, but the O’Hagan family said they did appreciate the apology from Fletcher.