RICHMOND, Va. -- For the second time in a month, convicted killer Vincent Lamont Martin was supposed to walk free. And for the second time in a month, that hasn't happened. This time because the inspector general’s office is conducting its own investigation into how the parole board handled his case.
"It's another day that a****** can stay in jail,” Patrick Connors said.
At 86 years old, Connors said he was too old to mince words.
"The guy killed my son, and he didn't have to stand over him and shoot him in the head,” Connors said Monday. “You had him down. What the hell more did you want. I don't understand why."
The father of Michael Patrick Connors, a Richmond police officer executed in the line of duty by Martin on November 13, 1979, has never before done an interview about the murder, but said it was time for others, especially Virginia's parole board to hear his voice.
"Here's a kid that never worked a day in his life,” Connors said. “What the hell is he gonna’ do when he gets out? What talent does this guy have besides being able to use a gun?"
Martin was set for release Monday after former state Parole Board Chair Adrianne Bennett and three others in April voted to let him walk.
However, shortly after the vote, complaints that they had not followed the letter of the law, came pouring in. Richmond's Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin then sent a letter to the new board chair Tracy Chapman, asking her to rescind Martin's release.
The Connors family said Bennett's press release after the decision was devastating.
"The former chairman of the parole board has justified the action by saying that Mr. Martin did not receive a fair trial and has been a model prisoner?” Connors asked. “That floored us. It broke our hearts. How can this woman say this when that man shot my son?"
Over the past 40 years the grief comes in waves for the Connors family; they say they're often left thinking about what could've been.
Now, fresh on their mind, is the Inspector General's investigation.
“And there have been a number of concerns raised by the Connors family, and by the Richmond Police Department by the local commonwealth attorney,” said Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran at a news conference Monday. “And because of those, an independent investigation has begun. As reported by [CBS 6] last week, the parole board became aware of it in light of an independent investigation into the process by which the parole board made that determination. They have determined to put it on hold temporarily. This will allow the removal of the cloud that has formed over this parole decision."
Tonya Chapman, the new state parole board chair said in a statement, that it would be to put a temporary hold on the Martin release for a period not to exceed 30 days, pending the conclusion of the inspector general's investigation.