CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Three years ago, Maureen O’Boyle reached out to the community and asked for help. She started a petition to keep the man convicted of raping her, and another woman, in Macon, Georgia in 1986, behind bars.
More than 71,000 people signed the petition and the decision was made to keep James Starling in prison. His next parole date was tentatively set for April 2026.
Then, after a phone call earlier this week, everything changed.
“I found out on Monday that James Starling died - a year ago - March 22, 2018,” said O’Boyle in a recorded message to the community who helped her keep him behind bars.
Maureen said she’s still processing everything she was told. She wept. She sought out professional help.
“I’ve been doing really deep trauma work,” she said. “I encourage any of you who are survivors to share this message... We need to keep growing as survivors... keep dealing with the trauma."
The phone call she received Monday was from a victim’s advocacy worker who found out Starling was deceased after a search in the prison system.
“We will never have to sign another petition,” said Maureen from the make-up room at WBTV where she recorded her first video asking for signatures years ago.
IN HER OWN WORDS: Maureen O’Boyle describes the night she was terrorized, raped
“Thank you very much for giving me the peace of mind you gave me over the last three years because you helped me keep him behind bars,” said O’Boyle. “This chapter of my healing is over but for all of you who are survivors make sure you keep reaching out for help.”