BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Hours before a convicted killer faced his final punishment in north Florida, childhood friends of 14-year-old Karen Slattery met at her gravesite to shed tears and smiles over a friend they lost 39 years ago.
"Today is actually a good day because this day is long coming," said Mary Kay Lorne, who said Slattery was a babysitter for her children. "Very sweet, she was just so loving to our kids, and it's still so hard though."
Slattery was a teenager babysitting for another family when she was raped and killed March 24, 1984, in Delray Beach. Her attacker broke into the house and left the two children unharmed.
It was one of two murders that Duane Owen would be convicted of committing. Georgianna Worden, 38, a mother of two, was killed two months later in Boca Raton.
"We choose today, with everything going on tonight, to celebrate Karen," Margaret Garetano-Castor said while at the cemetery in Boynton Beach.
Garetano-Castor said she and Karen were best friends and she was glad to see many of Slattery's childhood friends in attendance Thursday to share stories.
"We did a couple of prayers, and we asked everybody to share a memory, and there were some great ones," Garetano-Castor said. "It's so awesome to hear the laughing."