BEVERLY, MA — Two convicted murderers from the North Shore are among the more than 200 inmates released by the Massachusetts Department of Correction since a Supreme Judicial Court order earlier this month.

Richard Crotty, 62, and Barbara Goucher, 54, were both scheduled to be released Tuesday. Crotty served 32 years for the 1987 murder of Gary Landry in the basement of Landry’s Beverly home. Goucher was convicted of the 1998 stabbing death of 50-year-old Florence “Bunny” Munroe in Gloucester.

Both were beneficiaries of a ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court earlier this month that came after inmates rights groups raised concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus in state prisons. The ruling was primarily directed at people not yet convicted of nonviolent crimes who were awaiting trial, but also included provisions to speed up the release on parole of some convicted inmates.

On Tuesday, the state’s high court rejected a plaintiff’s motion that would have expanded the number of convicted inmates eligible for releases. As of Sunday, more than 200 inmates had been released from state prisons, while 596 had been released from county jails.

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Crotty won parole in the fall but was not scheduled to be released until January. He will now go free and live in Middleton. Goucher was granted parole on the condition she spend a transitional period in a lower-security prison; that transitional period was cut short with her release on Tuesday.

Crotty was a part-time Swampscott police officer when Landry offered to loan him $40,000 to start a home improvement business. In October 1987 he went to Landry’s home and shot him twice in the head as they walked down the stairs to Landry’s basement.

Crotty, who attended Landry’s funeral before being arrested as a suspect, has said he thought Landry was going for a gun in his pocket. Prosecutors claim he killed Landry to avoid repaying the loan.

Goucher was 33 when she stabbed Munroe 108 times over the course of several hours in Feb. 1998. Investigators said she attacked Munroe after the woman refused to give Goucher money. Like Crotty, Goucher won parole last fall. As a condition of her early release, she will have to wear an electronic monitoring device.

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Dave Copeland writes for Patch and can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 617-433-7851. Follow him on Twitter (@CopeWrites) and Facebook (/copewrites).

This article originally appeared on the Beverly Patch

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