NASHUA - After being called a "monster" and a "parent's worst nightmare," Matthew Packer was sentenced Wednesday to 52 years to life in prison for brutally attacking two young women and then stabbing to death their defender.
Paul Frontiero III, 27, a local EMT, was stabbed 16 times by Packer on the night of Oct. 9, 2011. Frontiero intervened after Packer took out a knife on Spruce Street and began slashing two of Frontiero's friends.
"He forever damaged many lives … and forever cast a dark shadow over my life," said Kathryn Libby, whose face was slashed during the attack. "(Packer) proved to me that there are monsters."
The physical injuries, according to Libby, are nothing compared to the mental scars created by Packer's impulsive actions two years ago.
Packer, 21, knew none of the three victims, but jumped out of a vehicle after hearing someone yell "Captain Crunch." He approached the women, took out a knife and began his attack, according to assistant attorney general Benjamin Agati.
To Frontiero's parents, Packer is a "parent's worst nightmare," said Agati, describing Packer as a stranger who attacks in the night for no reason, taking away their child forever.
The courtroom at Hillsborough County Superior Court Wednesday was filled with friends and family of Frontiero, who struggled to stop the tears while sharing with the court stories about Frontiero, his kind soul and generous tendencies.
Frontiero was protecting Libby and Arnold on the night of the stabbings and died saving their lives, according to prosecutors. Since then, Frontiero received a posthumous Union Leader Hero Award for his brave and selfless actions and has since been nominated for a prestigious Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
"Our house now has an empty room," said Frontiero's mother, Cathy Frontiero of Gloucester, Mass. "Matthew Packer took our son away from us, and we will not let him take anything else away from us."
More details from today's sentencing will be contained in tomorrow's New Hampshire Union Leader.