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Why the man who killed a police officer is being freed from prison despite life sentence

Posted at 11:53 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 07:36:59-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A man who murdered a Richmond police officer more than 40 years ago has been granted parole despite being sentenced to life in prison.

Vincent Lamont Martin shot and killed patrolman Michael Connors on November 13, 1979.

Martin and a group of accomplices had just robbed a 7-eleven store in the city's Monroe Ward neighborhood and were driving the wrong way down Madison Street when Connors pulled them over.

Investigators say Martin first shot the officer in the neck then stood over him and fired several more shots into his head.

Martin was found guilty of capital murder, and given the death penalty.

But he later appealed that ruling and was ultimately sentenced to life in prison.

Now, The Parole Board is saying that Martin will soon be freed.

"We have spent years researching this case and reviewing the facts we stand firmly behind our decision to grant his release. We strongly encourage others in law enforcement and the criminal justice community who has concerns about this decision to conduct a similarly thorough and unbiased review of this case. We are confident that after doing so, others will reach the same conclusion."

As for officer Michael Connors' family and friends, they say they're hoping that someone intervenes and prevents Martin from being released.

They say a life sentence barely fits the crime, and if he walks free, they'll feel like they're being victimized all over again.