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Board scrutinized following decision to grant parole to officer's killer

Posted at 7:37 AM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 07:37:50-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Vincent Martin, the man who killed Richmond Police Officer Michael Connors in 1979, was scheduled to be released from prison on April 30. That release date has now been pushed back to May 11.

Crime Insider sources told Jon Burkett other parole cases were being reviewed to see if the letter of the law was followed.

After a series of report last week, Michael Connors’s family said they were contacted by Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran over the weekend and felt like his sympathy was heartfelt.

"We certainly feel like the Connors family did not get an ample opportunity to be heard on this issue,” Dana Schrad, Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police., said. “We also find it concerning that the parole's chair conducted an investigation about innocence when that should be left to the courts."

Crime Insider sources told Burkettt Martin's family had no idea his release was a possibility, considering they thought he was going to be executed years ago.

"We are hoping that the governor sees there are concerns about fairness and equity in the process and he takes those concerns into consideration," said Schrad.

Other Cases Reviewed

Debra Scribner was sentenced to 23 years in prison back in February 2012 for her part in the execution-style murder of her son-in law. Eric Wynn's body was found stuffed in a well on the family's property in Halifax County.

Scribner was released recently by the same parole board headed by chair Adrianne Bennett.

Part of state code says a victim's family is supposed to be notified of parole possibilities.

Halifax Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Martin said the victim had a known address and phone number and no one from the parole board ever reached out.

"It was simply a failure in all regards when it comes to the victim in this case,” Martin said. “He was easy to find and if they had tried at all, they would've found him."

Martin said in that case, the letter of the law was not followed .

It's the same thing the Connors family said they are experiencing.

"The fix is one of two things, so I guess my comments are directed towards the legislature,” said Martin. “One, a regulatory fix within operations of parole board or they need another level of oversight."

On Friday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam pledged that he would take a look at the Connors case. It now appears there are some more examples.