Vanessa Grande died of a drug overdose in January at the age of 26, and her grieving mother is among those angry at a Massachusetts judge for a decision not to keep a drug dealer behind bars.
"Losing her was the hardest thing that I've ever had to deal with," Toni Grande said.
Grande was one of several parents upset and angry to learn that earlier this week, Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley gave an admitted heroin dealer probation instead of jail time.
"I want to know if he has kids, and if he does have kids, what if his kids overdosed? Would that have changed his decision?" Grande asked.
"This was basically a money crime without an addiction aspect," Feeley said at the sentencing of Manual Soto-Vittini on Tuesday.
Feeley said that Soto-Vittini "made some terrible judgements and decisions, but made them for reasons that, at least, he thought were helpful to his family.
"I've never heard of anything so outrageous," said Marilyn Devaney, who is on the governor's council that gave approval to Feeley's appointment to the bench. "This is the second time. He let a criminal go that killed the officer in Maine. He has to be removed."
Just last month, Feeley came under fire for lowering the bail of John Williams, who allegedly went on to kill a sheriff's deputy in Maine just weeks later.
"I am heartsick over what this judge has done," Devaney said.
Devaney said she is hoping to work with state lawmakers in this area to begin the lengthy process of actually trying to remove the judge.
As of Friday evening, a group of Republican lawmakers had cosponsored HD 4822, a bill filed by Rep. James Lyons (R-Andover) requesting Gov. Charlie Baker to remove Feeley from the bench. A petition on change.org calling for Feeley's impeachment had garnered more than 1,500 signatures.