MAYBROOK – A large showing of community, family, law enforcement and local politicians from Orange County, specifically the Maybrook and Town of Montgomery areas, gathered for the annual memorial service of Danny Meyer, a 12-year-old Maybrook boy who was brutally murdered in mid-June of 1996.
Sunday evening, at the park dedicated to Danny, a service reminiscing on his short life by family and friends was held, with a secondary focus being a call-to-action organized by Town of Montgomery Supervisor Brian Maher and supporters of the family.
Danny Meyer’s killer Juan Peinado will appear before the parole board next month for his parole hearing after serving 25 years for the crime and a petition to prevent Peinado’s parole has been created.
Danny is survived by his mother Jill Meyer and his sister Kristen Smith.
Maybrook Mayor Dennis Lahey said he has been a firm supporter of the family and remembered the incident, with its heinous nature, being particularly difficult for the village and its children.
“We watch over our families and pray for their safety because we can’t reverse the clock to keep them out of harm’s way,” said Lahey. “We hear of adults and children who pass from illness beyond anyone’s control. Danny Meyer’s life was senselessly taken from him and will always be remembered to many as the most tragic day in the history of our village,” he said.
Danny was described as being a typical and well-liked, adolescent boy by his community. He was a Boy Scout, liked skateboarding, playing video games, hunting for turtles and frogs with friends and playing baseball. The little-league team he played for, the Marlons, apparently had a practice he was walking to when he was ambushed in the woods nearby the day he lost his life.
Vinny D’Oria, the brother of Danny’s best friend TJ Malone, read a letter from his brother describing their relationship and reinforcing the fact Danny was just an average, innocent pre-teen.
“The two boys were inseparable,” read D’Oria. “They’d go fishing, have sleepovers, build rickety bike ramps with stolen wood and nails from a nearby construction site and on occasion, sneak a peek at the pages of Playboy magazine at the store they stopped to buy some Big League Chew and Gatorade before going to the baseball field,” he said.
Malone was 15 when he gave witness testimony at the trial of Peinado, brave enough to confront the murderer of his friend in the courtroom.
Currently, over 4,100 signatures have been gathered for the petition to prevent Peinado’s parole eligibility. Despite having that much community support, the support by resolution of the Montgomery Town Board and Maybrook Village Board, along with support from the district’s Assembly and Senate representatives, Orange County DA David Hoovler urged people in the community to write their own letters of opposition.
“I’m not going to read the letter that I prepared; but, in essence, I said anyone that preys on a young boy in this particular manner and what happened that particular day, in my opinion, should never be released and that is what I said to the parole board. So, I urge you to take the time to make sure you send a letter and sign a petition,” said Hoovler. He added that personal letters, ones written individually by each member of a family, hold more weight than local political support, or the petition on its own.
Maher plans to deliver the petition, along with all the letters, together personally and encouraged anyone who opposes Peinado’s parole to contact his office regarding the online petition and submitting a written letter in time for the hearing in August.