NASHUA — Four months after the family and friends of Paul Frontiero III watched his murderer be sentenced to 52 years to life in prison, the man they knew, respected and loved is being considered for a prestigious honor.
Frontiero, who was stabbed to death saving the lives of two young women who were being attacked on a Nashua street more than two years ago, could receive a Carnegie Hero Fund Commission award.
According to court documents, an investigations manager with the Carnegie organization, Jeffrey Dooley, has sought copies of Matthew Packer's plea and sentencing hearing that took place in August at Hillsborough County Superior Court.
Packer previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree assault for Frontiero's death and the knife attack on the two women. Judge Diane Nicolosi sentenced Packer to a minimum of 52 years to life in prison, with the possibility of having 10 years deferred for good behavior.
The sentence included 45 years to life for Frontiero's killing, and consecutive sentences of 6-15 years for the assault on Kathryn Libby and 1-7 years for the assault on Jill Arnold.
"Our attention has been directed to the actions of the late Paul Frontiero, who on Oct. 9, 2011, went to the aid of two women who were being assaulted by an armed man in Nashua," Dooley wrote, requesting documented copies of Packer's most recent court appearance. "Please be assured that we will use the information solely for purposes of award consideration."
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission is a private operating foundation that distributes medals and monetary grants to individuals in the United States and Canada who act to "preserve or rescue their fellow," according to documents, indicating that more than $34 million has been given to awardees or their survivors since its inception in 1904.
"Rescue acts brought to the Commission's attention are carefully evaluated, and those that appear to have award potential are then investigated and reported to the Commission for decision," says the letter.
Just two weeks before he was planning to leave for his second medical mission to the Dominican Republic, Frontiero, an emergency medical technician, died trying to help the two women.
Because of his brave and selfless actions that night more than two years ago, Frontiero, 27, was previously presented with a posthumous Union Leader Hero Award in 2012, which honors New Hampshire residents who risk their lives to save or attempt to save the life of another person.
"My son saw somebody in need and stepped in. It doesn't surprise me at all that he tried to intervene," Cathy Frontiero, his mother, previously told the Union Leader. "He died a hero. It might have been two deaths instead of one if it wasn't for his help."
The two women, Arnold and Libby, both of 13 Spruce St., were being harassed by Packer when Frontiero heard the commotion and tried to defuse the situation.
Packer had a knife to the throat of one of the women, and the other had already suffered minor stab wounds when Frontiero tried to stop Packer from further injuring the women, according to prior police testimony.
Frontiero died after being stabbed by Packer 16 times with a six-inch pocket knife, including one puncture to the heart. Other vital organs, including his left lung, left kidney, diaphragm and spleen were damaged from the knife wounds.
Although Frontiero sucumbed to his injuries, the women he protected during the altercation survived. Arnold suffered wounds on her neck, while Libby suffered more severe injuries such as multiple slashes to her face, arm, back and rib cage.