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Report details violations made granting parole to a man who killed a Richmond Police Officer

Posted at 11:48 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 15:13:06-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- An Inspector General report on the Vincent Martin case released in July 2020 was six pages long.

Initially, that version was heavily redacted, with more text blacked out than was legible.

CBS 6 Problem Solvers investigators have now learned the report was heavily edited as well, and was less than half its original length.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers have since obtained that original 13-page long report.

That report is loaded with details about violations of parole board policy and the law.

It includes allegations that the former chair, now Judge Adrianne Bennett, asked at least two employees to falsify a report and violate their own ethics.

Martin was serving a life sentence for killing a Richmond police officer in 1979, when his parole was granted last Spring by then Parole Board Chair Bennett.

Controversy swirled around his release, to the point that the state's official government watchdog agency launched an investigation after receiving several complaints about the way the case was handled.

"It just seems like the chairman at the time, stepped out of her impartial role and put on the hat of advocate for the inmate and transgressed a number of regulations and procedures to the detriment of the public,” Matt Bristow, a retired Air Force judge advocate and lawyer, said.

Bristow said after reading the state inspector general's original 13-page report, he can see why only six pages were made public.

"It definitely looks like information was withheld to avoid embarrassment or other undesirable publicity," said Bristow.

In the report, from June 2020, Inspector General Michael Westfall wrote that Bennett violated the state constitution by not remaining impartial in the Martin case.

He said that in March 2020, Bennett asked a hearing examiner to falsify a report, by making it appear as their own, within Martin's case file.

Westfall also wrote that in April, Bennett falsely told Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran that she had not advocated for Martin's release.

The report then stated Bennett told at least one parole board employee that she was going to purposely release Martin and certain other inmates near the end of her term because of the backlash those decisions would bring.

"It just seems to be part of a plan to enhance the appearance of the inmate so it would justify the decision she predetermined to make concerning his release,” said Bristow.

The inspector general determined that Bennett and current chair Chapman, both, violated multiple state codes and policies and violated the constitution of Virginia.

Specifically, Westfall wrote that Chapman violated the state code involving false entries or destruction of records by officers, and an executive order requiring all executive branch agencies to cooperate with a state inspector general investigation to the fullest extent.

Bennett is now a judge in Virginia Beach, assigned to the bench by Governor Ralph Northam.

The governor's office has not yet responded to requests for a statement about the findings.

Sec. Moran did respond with the following statement:

"As you know, OSIG provided us a report concerning Vincent Martin. In response to requests, they subsequently released a very redacted version and then ultimately released the report to several legislators who then released it publicly. If there is some other report that exists concerning Martin, I would be happy to review it and discuss it with you."