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  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Christopher Vydfol's mother, Lorri Geoffroy chokes back tears while sitting for a portrait holding her son's ashes in her lap. Vydfol was murdered was stabbed to death Nov. 1, 2009 by Corey Furgal during a scuffle at a Halloween party in Merrimack.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Lorri Geoffroy sits at her kitchen table, Thursday afternoon, and talks about her son, Christopher Vydfol who was stabbed to death Nov. 1, 2009 by Corey Furgal during a scuffle at a Halloween party in Merrimack.
  • Christopher Vydfol, 20, is shown with his mother, Lorri Geoffroy, of Nashua, in a photograph taken on New Year's Eve 2009.

    -courtesy photo
  • Christopher Vydfol, 20, is shown last fall holding his new kitten, Sydney. Vydfol was killed at a Halloween party in Merrimack last October.

    -courtesy photo
  • courtesy photo
  • courtesy photo
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Kirsten Wyo, left, holds a sign suggesting that Corey Furgal was falsely imprisoned while Lisa Wheeler, an ex-girlfriend of Furgal's and Daniel Segedy, one of his cousins, do the same in front of Hillsborough County Superior Court, Saturday morning. Furgal was convicted of stabbing to death twenty year-old, Christopher Vydfol Wednesday morning in the same court.
Sunday, February 13, 2011

Victim’s family has closure after conviction

NASHUA – Photos of Lorri Geoffroy’s youngest son cover her Lake Street apartment like the pages of an old scrapbook.

One shot, posted to the refrigerator door, shows a 4-year-old Christopher Vydfol sharing a smile with his mother, while another shows Chris, 12 at the time, smiling mischievously, a phone tucked under his chin.

It took months following Vydfol’s death in 2009 for Geoffroy to return the photos to her apartment walls, and it took her even longer to be able to set her eyes on them.

But now, with the murder trial over and her son’s killer headed to jail, Geoffroy looks to the photos with pride.

“You see how cute he was?” Geoffrey said, pointing to the pictures of Vydfol, who had just turned 20 when he was killed – stabbed in the chest at a Halloween party in Merrimack.

“He had a good heart,” she said, choking back tears. “He can rest easier now.”

The two-week murder trial, which concluded Wednesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court, ripped at the emotions once again from Vydfol’s friends and family who have struggled for more than a year to overcome the grief of his death.

Geoffroy, 45, suffered two nervous breakdowns in the months following the murder, and her mother, Sue Geoffroy, landed in the hospital with heart problems.

“It’s been a tough year, and this brought it all back,” Sue Geoffroy, Chris’ grandmother, said last week. “It was like living it all over again.”

Lorri Geoffroy had pictured the scene a thousand times over in her mind.

“I always hoped he didn’t suffer,” she said. “There are some things you’re better off not knowing.”

But nothing could prepare her for the sight of the murder weapon, or the photos of her son, cut and maimed, presented during the trial.

And the worst part, family members said, was seeing her son’s killer, Corey Furgal, sitting across the courtroom wearing a dark suit and a blank expression, a teardrop tattoo below his eye.

The jury convicted Furgal, 25, on two counts of second-degree murder. His family declined to comment for this story.

“It was so hard, sitting there across from him, breathing the same air as him,” Lorri Geoffroy said.

“He just sat there. He didn’t show any remorse at all,” echoed Geoffroy’s mother, Sue, who had to leave the courtroom more than once. “It was like he felt nothing.”

The trial, which concluded after eight days of testimony, wasn’t any easier on Vydfol’s friends, many of whom were called to the witness stand.

Attorneys on both sides of the case called more than a dozen witnesses over the course of the trial, including many friends and party guests who had known Vydfol for years.

“It’s hard sitting up there. It’s nerve-racking, but Chris was on my mind pretty much the whole time,” said Robert Brackett, 22, a longtime friend of the Vydfols who hosted the party at his father’s house at 157 Bedford Road. “There was no doubt the truth was going to show that (Furgal was guilty).”

Between trial days, Vydfol’s family spent nights trying to clear their minds. Sue Geoffroy tried to watch television.

“I watch the Home and Garden network. … It worked for a minute, anyway,” she said.

And Lorri Geoffrey tried to settle into a book, but she couldn’t stay focused long.

“I just lie there and I have all these thoughts,” she said during the trial. “I can’t stop thinking about it. … It’s a mother’s nightmare.”

Now that the trial is over, however, Geoffroy’s nightmare can start to fade into a memory.

Both Lorri and Sue Geoffroy returned to work this weekend at Joanne’s Diner, where Chris worked with them waiting tables before his death.

“That’s the greatest support group in the world, that diner,” Sue Geoffroy said last week.

Lorri Geoffroy plans to get back to her weekday job this week, as well, returning to work as a medical receptionist. And she’ll continue to attend a support group for parents who have lost a child, where she’s hoping she can be a resource to other grieving mothers.

“I want to tell them to stay strong,” she said. The pain “doesn’t get easier, but it gets softer.”

Meanwhile, Brackett and Vydfol’s other friends are already planning the third annual Christopher Vydfol memorial concert, to be held this summer.

The concerts, held last fall and last summer, benefit a variety of causes, including the American Red Cross and the Humane Society for Greater Nashua – Vydfol had a strong love of animals and had plans to adopt a cat at the time of his death.

“A lot of bands come down. We play some of Chris’ favorite songs,” Brackett said of the concerts. “It’s really more a celebration of life.”

Two months from now, before the concerts take place, Vydfol’s family and friends will return to court once again – this time for Furgal’s sentencing.

The hearing will be hard to watch, family members said, but it will be a necessary step in their recovery. Furgal could face up to life in prison.

“I wouldn’t miss that,” Steven Vydfol, Chris’ brother, said after the trial. “It won’t bring Chris back, but I want to see (Furgal) locked up.”

After that, when the weather has warmed and Furgal is locked away, the family might get together again for another important step forward.

When they’re ready, Lorri Geoffroy and her sons will pack up the red marble case sitting in her home. They’ll take it to the woods of Mont Vernon, where they’ll let Vydfol go, returning his ashes to the earth.

“There’s this waterfall he always liked to go to,” Lorri Geoffroy said. “That might be a nice place to do it.

“I’m not quite ready for that yet, though,” she said softly. “I want to spend a little more time with him first.”

Jake Berry can be reached at 594-6402 or