Shopping Cart

No products in the cart.

Go to top

New Jersey man who killed 7-year-old Girl Scout 48 years ago dies in prison


A New Jersey man who killed a seven-year-old Girl Scout in 1973 reportedly died in prison.

Joseph McGowan was convicted of the rape and murder of his neighbor Joan D’Alessandro on April 19 of the same year after knocking on his door while selling biscuits, according to NorthJersey.com.

McGowan reportedly lived three doors from the little girl and was a high school chemistry teacher.

“She said, ‘Goodbye, Mommy. I’ll be right back,'” Rosemarie D’Alessandro told News 12 from New Jersey, remembering the last words her daughter had said to her.

After McGowan admitted the murder, little Joan’s body was later found in Harriman State Park, New York State.

The killer was sentenced to life imprisonment and was last given parole in 2009. According to D’Alessandro’s family, he would have been eligible for parole again in 2025, NorthJersey.com reported.

Joan D'Alessandro, 7, was selling Girl Scout biscuits when she was murdered by her neighbor Joseph McGowan in 1973.  McGowan died in prison on June 5th.

Joan D’Alessandro, 7, was selling Girl Scout biscuits when she was murdered by her neighbor Joseph McGowan in 1973. McGowan died in prison on June 5th.

“The first thought that crossed my mind was that we can now focus on the 50th anniversary of Joan’s impressive and loving legacy, who will turn 50 in 2023,” said D’Alessandro. “We won’t have to expend the time and energy to fight to keep him in prison.”

BEHAVIOR IN 1972 ILLINOIS MURDER COLD CASE TEEN CHOKED 36 TIMES

McGowan died on June 5, the New Jersey Department of Corrections said. The cause of his death was not immediately disclosed.

The murder of the young girl led to Joan’s Law, which was passed in the state in 1997. It prohibits the parole of criminals who murder children under the age of 14 in connection with a sexual offense. A federal version of the law was passed the next year.

Rosemarie D’Alessandro was instrumental in advocating the law and has helped pass other laws related to child safety.

“Joan could have been put in a cemetery and left there,” her mother said of Joan’s Law. “I didn’t want to leave Joan there. I wanted them to be remembered, to be known. She stood up for others, I wanted to stand up for her. “

Joan’s law didn’t apply to McGowan as he was convicted before it was passed, according to NorthJersey.com.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

D’Alessandro called McGowan’s probation hearing “torture,” according to News 12.

“I’m so grateful he didn’t make it – that way no other children, no other adults can lose their lives and suffer a lot, and I’m so grateful for that,” she told News 12.

Leave Comments