The families of Brian and Beverly Mauck have notified the state of Massachusetts that it is going to be one of the defendants that will be sued for the couple’s wrongful deaths. The Maucks were shot to death on November 17, 2007 by convicted murderer Daniel J. Tavares, Jr.
Tavares, 42, had been released from prison four months before the Maucks’ murders. Tavares, who is mentally ill and has a drug addiction problem, had just finished a lengthy prison sentence for murdering his mother with a carving knife when he was set free. At the time, he was facing new assault charges and a prosecutor had warned that he might flee.
According to the families’ wrongful death attorneys, the state of Massachusetts failed in its duty to protect others from Tavares, who is an “incredibly severe danger.” The couple’s estates also plan to sue a number of Massachusetts public safety officials, as well as the Worcester district attorney’s office, the Department of Correction, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and the state police. The families are accusing the defendants of negligence in the way they handled Tavares’s release.
On July 16, 2007, a Massachusetts Superior Court judge waived Tavares’s bail before releasing him. Judge Kathy M. Tuttman released him without knowing that over 100 serious disciplinary complaints had been filed against him while he was serving his murder sentence. Tavares also had reportedly told prison mental health counselors that he was going to move to Washington state to meet a woman he had met through the Internet.
State Police tried to get permission to arrest him after finding out he had left for Washington State, but it took the Worcester district attorney’s office six weeks to respond to the arrest warrant request. The warrant that was finally issued was only applicable upon Tavares’s return to New England.
A disciplinary committee had suggested he remain behind bars for another two years. Prison officials in Massachusetts have admitted that a bureaucratic mistake led to his release.
The Maucks, who were newlyweds, were Tavares’s neighbors. Last year, Tavares reached a plea agreement with the state of Washington over two counts of aggravated murder. He chose to serve a life prison sentence over the death penalty.
Mass. faces wrongful death lawsuit, Boston.com, March 6, 2009
Survivors of Daniel Tavares slay victims to sue state agencies, Boston Herald.com, March 8, 2009
Tavares pleads guilty, gets life sentence for murder of Graham couple, Seattle Times, February 15, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley
Massachusetts Department of Correction
Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Mass.gov