Looks like Vincent Martin can unpack his bags. The convicted cop killer is going to spend at least another 30 days in a cell, despite the best efforts of Gov. Ralph Northam’s parole board to set him free.
Martin, 64, was scheduled to be sprung yesterday, but at the last minute the chair of the board agreed to put his release on hold for a month to give the Office of the State Inspector General time to investigate the actions of the board to determine if parole is warranted.
I can save the IG the trouble. It’s not.
All capital murderers serving life sentences should die in prison. That’s the compact that was made with society when these felons were spared the death penalty.
Life should mean life.
The parole board has been on a freeing frenzy lately, setting loose a slew of killers. Martin’s case received the most attention because news of his parole shocked the law enforcement community and brought sharp objections from Republicans in the General Assembly and Richmond’s Democratic Commonwealth’s Attorney.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch printed an excerpt of a letter sent to the governor by outraged lawmakers on Sunday:
The urgency of our request cannot be overstated. … Absent an immediate intervention by you, Vincent Martin walks free tomorrow. We owe it to the victim’s family, to the Richmond Police Department, and to all Virginians to ensure the process of granting parole is consistently legal, fair and just.
That the parole board would even consider Mr. Martin a suitable candidate for release is a cause for serious concern. But having been made aware recently of some highly irregular actions surrounding the Parole Board’s decision to release Mr. Martin, we believe further investigation is necessary before allowing his release.
When Mr. Martin was considered for parole last year, his release was not recommended.
We have been given no clear information regarding the Parole Board’s abrupt reversal on Mr. Martin’s suitability for release.
The letter was signed by House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, and Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment of James City County, along with Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, and Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham, immediate past chairmen of the House and Senate courts of justice committees.
At 23, Martin was a punk. He and three of his felonious friends knocked off a 7-Eleven on the night of November 13, 1979 and were driving the wrong way on a one-way Richmond street when Patrolman Michael Conners – also 23 – stopped the car for the traffic violation. Conners didn’t know about the armed robbery.
Martin got out of the car and shot Conners in the neck.
After the officer went down Martin stood over the injured man and pumped four more rounds into his head.
Yes, this violent criminal ambushed and executed a police officer during a routine traffic stop and the hand-wringers on Virginia’s parole board believe he should get a second chance.
Twenty five years after Virginia abolished parole, Northam’s board is merrily shipping dangerous sociopaths back into society. They’ve been freeing felons who were convicted prior to 1995 and are eligible for parole.
When news broke last month that Martin was on the list to be freed, the parole board brazenly asserted that their decision had nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic while insisting their decision was final.
Turns out, it’s not final. And if there is a speck of sanity left in Richmond, this convict, who killed a young cop in cold blood, will remain behind bars.
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