By Marjorie Nesin
---- — The man who fatally stabbed Londonderry High graduate Paul Frontiero III, 27, in 2011 was sentenced yesterday to 52 years in prison.
Matthew Packer, 21, a former Nashua resident, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder. Packer was sentenced in Hillsborough Superior Court for the October 2011 stabbing, outside Frontiero’s Nashua apartment.
Cathy and Paul Frontiero, both of Gloucester, spoke in the crowded courtroom. They said they were pleased Packer would no longer be able to hurt anyone.
Cathy Frontiero said Monday their son’s death had been devastating.
Paul Frontiero III was stabbed when he came to the aid of his neighbors, Jill Arnold and Kathryn Libby, both 29. Packer, then 19, was attacking the two women with a knife.
The younger Frontiero was an EMT in Dorchester at the time of his death, following his mother, a nurse, into the health-care field.
An expert witness testified that Packer suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, caused by emotional and physical abuse during his childhood, and said that triggered his actions.
Packer’s attorney sought a shorter sentence — 30 years to life. The Attorney General’s Office asked for 60 years to life.
The Frontiero family first learned the details of the crime at the plea hearing in July, hearing details they had avoided before. At the time, Cathy Frontiero expressed her hope that Packer would be off the streets and away from the public.
“It’s been a nightmare that we’re reliving all over again, but we’re relieved that Matt Packer will be behind bars and he can do to no other family what he has done to ours,” she said then.
Frontiero’s parents remember their son as a “giving man.”
The 2003 graduate of Londonderry High School aspired to work on a medical helicopter transport team as a paramedic.
Frontiero’s funeral in Gloucester drew a large contingent of emergency response personnel, in addition to scores of family members, relatives and friends. He had three brothers.
Frontiero had participated in a mission group from Cape Ann’s Holy Family Parish that carried out projects in Cevicos, Dominican Republic. He had been scheduled to join the group for a return trip to the Dominican before he was killed.
He played football, lacrosse and baseball at Londonderry High. School officials spoke highly of him at the time of his death.