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Man who killed Richmond Police officer released from prison

Posted at 10:29 AM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 12:30:44-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The man convicted of shooting and killing a Richmond police officer in 1979 is now out of prison.

Vincent Lamont Martin was released from the Nottoway Correctional Center early Wednesday morning, sources told CBS 6 Crime Insider Jon Burkett. A search of the Virginia Department of Corrections website showed Martin was no longer in custody.

Martin had been serving a life sentence for the 1979 murder of Patrolman Michael Connors.

As CBS 6 was first to report, Martin was granted parole earlier this year, but his release had been delayed twice, most recently by the Virginia Parole Board.

The delay came after the state's official government watchdog agency – the Office of the State Inspector General – launched an investigation into the handling of the case. The investigation followed criticism from Connors’s family, police, some lawmakers, and Richmond’s top prosecutor.

Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin had asked the board to reconsider and rescind the release.

In a letter, McEachin said that she was concerned about Martin’s suitability for parole, in addition to the safety of the general public should he return to Richmond.

McEachin said that she also had questions about the process the parole board used to notify Connors’ family.

The family previously told CBS 6 they were not given the opportunity to present information to the board before Martin was granted parole.

CBS 6 had been told that Martin would not be released until the conclusion of the OSIG investigation.

CBS 6 has reached out for more details.

The Crime

The shooting occurred after Connors pulled over a vehicle that was traveling the wrong way down a one-way street. Inside that car were Martin and a group of accomplices who had just minutes before robbed a 7-Eleven store near the intersection of Madison and Grace, in the city's Monroe Ward neighborhood.

Connors, unaware of the robbery, was shot in the neck after approaching the vehicle. Martin then stood over the dying officer and fired several more shots into his head, investigators said.

The 23-year-old officer was shot multiple times at close range.

"It was a flat out execution," said retired prosecutor Stacy Garrett, who tried the case.

Prior to the delays, Martin was set to be released from the Nottoway Correctional Center on May 11.