• Man convicted of 1981 teen strangling scheduled for parole hearing

    By: Bob Ward


    LYNN, Mass. - (July 21, 2016) A vicious murder that happened 35 years ago is dredging up painful emotions for a Lynn family.

    Bonnie Sue Mitchell was just 15 years old when she was strangled to death in 1981. Her boyfriend, George MacNeill, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole, but a new court ruling could change that.

    “I don’t forgive him for what he's done. I don’t care if he stands up there and tells everybody how sorry he is. He's not sorry, it’s all an act. He's just saying it so he can get out of jail,” Bonnie Sue’s niece, May Hitaj, said.

    A ruling from the Supreme Judicial Court said that life sentences without parole were illegal for teenagers convicted of murder, and now MacNeill is getting a parole hearing.

    The details about how MacNeill killed Bonnie Sue in the bathroom at Lynn’s Pinegrove Cemetery are brutal.

    “He was smart enough to read a book. So after he strangled her, and she was done fighting for her life, he then tied her to the toilet so if she was just unconscious, and not dead, that from her trying to wiggle herself free, would then strangle herself,” Hitaj said.

    Hitaj was only 6 years old when her aunt was murdered. A few blurry photographs are all she has to remember her aunt.

    “She was just so beautiful and so full of life. So loving and so caring. She was the most important person to me. And when she died, a piece of me died with her,” she said.

    MacNeill’s parole hearing is set for Aug. 25. He’s one of 34 juvenile killers who have been granted parole hearings since the SJC ruling. Eleven of them have won their release.

    Next Up: