RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Vincent Martin, a man serving time for the murder of a Richmond Police officer, was originally meant to be released on parole Monday, but the decision was reversed in the last minute by the Virginia Parole Board.
Martin was charged for the 1979 killing of Patrolman Michael Connors and was serving a life sentence. The decision to grant him parole came about over coronavirus concerns at the facility.
The decision was met with backlash from law enforcement groups, and some state lawmakers.
“The release of a convicted killer of a police officer - in this case, a very brutal crime, is simply outrageous," said Roanoke County Police Chief Howard Hall, the president of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.
Chief Hall says the parole board didn’t follow proper procedures in Martin’s case, adding that "neither the victim’s family nor the commonwealth’s attorney had the opportunity to provide input - which is something that they’re supposed to have.”
In a statement, Parole Board Chair Tonya Chapman said she had been made aware of the Inspector General’s investigation into the board’s policies and procedures regarding Martin’s case, adding that it was prudent to place a hold not to exceed 30 days, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Chapman goes on to say that “The Board remains confident in its decision to grant parole to Mr. Martin and looks forward to the conclusion of this administrative investigation.”
Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran addressed the case in Monday’s briefing with Governor Ralph Northam.
“An independent investigation will allow the parole board, and Mr. Martin, and the family, and the Richmond PD to move on," Moran said.
Chief Hall says that while the VACP has cited similar cases around Virginia in their arguments against Martin’s release, they do call the decision a small first step.
“Now the rest of the steps an investigations have to take place to get to a more final outcome,” Chief Hall added.
Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.