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Nashua EMT died trying to save two women from attack

Union Leader Correspondent

May 02. 2012 10:57PM

NASHUA - Just two weeks before he was planning to leave for his second medical mission to the Dominican Republic, Paul Frontiero III made the ultimate sacrifice.

Frontiero, an emergency medical technician, was stabbed to death Oct. 9, 2011, outside his Spruce Street residence trying to save two women who were being attacked on the city street by a passing motorist.

Because of his brave and selfless actions that night, Frontiero, 27, will be presented with a posthumous Union Leader Hero Award later this month.

'My son saw somebody in need and stepped in. It doesn't surprise me at all that he tried to intervene,' said Cathy Frontiero of Gloucester, Mass. 'He died a hero. It might have been two deaths instead of one if it wasn't for his help.'

The two women, Jill Arnold, 29, and Kathryn Libby, 29, both of 13 Spruce St., were reportedly being harassed by Matthew Packer, 19, of 36 Carlene Drive, when Frontiero heard the commotion and tried to defuse the situation, according to Cathy Frontiero.

Packer allegedly had a knife to the throat of one of the women. The other had already suffered minor stab wounds when Frontiero, an off-duty EMT, tried to stop Packer from further injuring the women, according to police testimony provided during a court hearing.

Detective Daniel Mederos said that Paul Frontiero died after being stabbed 16 times with a 6-inch pocket knife, including one puncture to the heart. Other vital organs, including his left lung, left kidney, diaphragm and spleen, were damaged by the knife.

Although Frontiero died, the women he protected during the altercation survived. Arnold suffered superficial wounds on her neck, while Libby suffered more severe injuries such as multiple slashes to her face, arm, back and rib cage, according to police.

'I still have so many questions about that night - so many answers I may never get,' said Frontiero's mother. 'But I know he was just doing good. That somehow helps ease the pain.'

She has met with Arnold and Libby, and is thankful for their kindness and generosity.

She said they have spearheaded several fundraisers to honor her son, a 2003 Londonderry High School graduate, and the money will someday be used to help those in need.

'Paul was always trying to help others - that is what he wanted to do. He is greatly missed,' she said, adding he loved his career, his friends and family.

Paul Frontiero worked for EasCare Ambulance Service of Dorchester, Mass., and studied at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.

He also previously coached youth lacrosse in Gloucester, Mass. In high school, he played lacrosse, baseball and football.

Packer is being held without bail, charged with two alternative counts of second-degree murder. During a previous court hearing, police testified that Packer told authorities he was hit in the ear, snapped and lost control the night of the attack.

His trial is tentatively scheduled for the end of the year at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua.

Cathy Frontiero is hoping the trial will help the Frontiero family, including her three remaining sons, begin the healing process.

'But it won't bring him back,' she said this week, adding she is thankful her son's short life is still being remembered through the Hero Award, which will be accepted by her and her husband, Paul Frontiero Jr.

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