Cop Killer Granted Parole After Board Hides Parole Review From Family, Police

Sandy Malone

The Virginia Parole Board voted to release Vincent Lamont Martin, who killed Richmond Police Officer Michael P. Connors.

Richmond, VA – A man who executed a 23-year-old Richmond police officer during a traffic stop in 1979 was just granted parole despite the fact the officer’s family and police department were not given an opportunity object.

Richmond Police Officer Michael P. Connors stopped a car near Linden and Main Streets for traveling the wrong way down a one-way street at about 2:05 a.m. on Nov. 13, 1979, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Officer Connors, 23, did not know that the occupants of the vehicle had just robbed a 7-Eleven store near Virginia Commonwealth University.

Testimony at trial revealed that when Officer Connors approached the getaway car, then 23-year-old Vincent Lamont Martin got out of the vehicle, The Hill reported.

Officer Connors told Martin to get back in the car, and Martin drew a handgun and shot the police officer in the neck.

Testimony revealed that after the officer fell to the ground, and Martin stood over Officer Connors and shot him in the head four times at close range, according to The Hill.

"It was a flat out execution," Stacy Garrett, who prosecuted the case, told WTVR. "The medical examiner testified that during the autopsy, she removed bits and pieces of gravel and stone that were in his face because of the force of the gun shots... it's just something you never forget."

Martin was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death.

But he appealed on a technicality and was granted a new trial, The Hill reported.

The judge at his first trial hadn’t allowed the defense attorney to strike a potential jury member for cause, and so the attorney had to use a peremptory challenge to dismiss the woman.

Although the woman didn’t serve on Martin’s jury, the appellate court said the judge should have struck the juror for cause, and ordered that Officer Connors’ killer should have a new trial, The Hill reported.

The second jury also convicted Martin of capital murder, but they gave him life in prison instead of the death penalty.

Officer Connors’ killer has applied for parole numerous times but the parole board never actually considered giving it to him until recently, according to The Hill.

The Parole Board noted when they turned down Martin’s parole request in 2018 that the inmate had been convicted of additional crimes while he was incarcerated, WTVR reported.

In 2019, they denied Martin parole again and said it was too risky to release him because of his violent history and extensive criminal record.

"Your prior failure(s) and/or convictions while under community supervision indicate that you are unlikely to comply with conditions of release," the document read, according to WTVR.

But one year later, on April 10, without giving Officer Connors’ family or the Richmond Police Department the statutory 45 days to deliver victim impact statements or object, the Virginia Parole Board voted by a supermajority to grant parole to the cop killer, The Hill reported.

“Vincent Martin has demonstrated himself over the decades to be a trusted leader, peacemaker, mediator and mentor in the correctional community,” Virginia Parole Board Chair Adrianne L. Bennett wrote in a press release issued April 15.

“Vincent Martin consistently receives strong support from Department of Corrections staff,” Bennett’s statement continued.

She claimed one staff member said “’Vincent Martin is looked at as a role model, mentor, father, brother, cadre and guiding light to both staff and offenders.”

Bennett said the Officer Connors’ family was solicited for input ahead of the Parole Board’s decision, but the fallen hero’s sister, Maureen Clements, told WTVR that was not the case.

Clements said that Officer Connors’ family was notified Martin was up for parole in early March, and then Bennett called them on March 25 and told them the board had made its decision to grant parole to the cop killer.

"It was disappointing and devastating when we heard it, on Good Friday of all days," Clements told WTVR. "But it was almost something we expected."

The problem is that state law in Virginia says the family of the victim “shall have 45 days” to respond to the parole board before they make a decision.

Clements said she wants to know when the 45 days supposedly started, WTVR reported.

Richmond Police Chief William Smith released a statement in response to the news about Martin’s release that said “Richmond police officers, past and present, expect that their lives and sacrifices would carry more weight and value in society than to allow this person’s release,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

“I am further concerned that the investigation was conducted by the Parole Board’s chair, an investigation that did not include the department nor the evidence of the crime,” Chief Smith said. “I would hope that an immediate review of this entire proceeding be conducted by an impartial body and afterwards his release can be weighed given all evidence and testimony of family, officers and investigators.”

The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) has said it will make every effort to stop Martin’s parole from happening, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

“We are appalled and disappointed with the Parole Board’s decision to release Vincent Martin,” VACP President Dana Schrad wrote in an email. “This is a felony murder case involving the brutal killing of Richmond Police Officer Michael Connors which should not be considered for parole. The Connors family is grieving again over the lack of concern for the impact on their family, and it is a slap in the face to every law enforcement officer in Virginia.”

The Parole Board chair hit back against the criticism in the statement that was released, and claimed the murdered officer’s family had been consulted ahead of the vote.

Bennett said in the statement that the Parole Board’s decision was final and criticized law enforcement efforts to change it.

“Ignited by the officer’s family, the Richmond Police Chief, along with other law enforcement organizations have joined in a disappointing chorus of opposition to the Parole Board’s decision,” the board chair wrote. “While this tactic has worked with Parole Boards in other states, this Board does not respond to this type of pressure campaign. These efforts are inappropriate and are intended to nullify the Parole Board’s decision, which again was reached after significant research, discussion and review.”

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was asked by reporters at a press conference on April 17 if he would intervene and stop the release of the cop killer, WTVR reported.

“I'll be happy to look at, it but my plate has been kind of full with this pandemic, but I'll be happy to look at it," Northam replied.

Comments (32)
No. 1-27
flybynight
flybynight

Black face strikes again 🙄

LynnSB
LynnSB

What a horrific and idiotic thing for this parole board to do and then you have the governor of the state merely saying he will look into it. He executed that officer I don’t care how much time has passed he had a life sentence just like he gave that officer and now you’re going to let this piece of shit out of prison well every member of that pro board should have to have him live with them taking turns and they should be 100% responsible for any actions that he does after they let him out of prison what disgusting ignorant people they are I can only imagine what the officer’s family is going through I’m quite sure they feel as if it just happened again what the hell is this country coming to that this kind of barbaric bullshit can go on makes me absolutely sick

Shepfershort
Shepfershort

Another embarassment to life, free again. Kill it, before it kills again.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

An investigation conducted pursuant to this section shall include notification that a victim may submit to the Virginia Parole Board evidence concerning the impact that the release of the prisoner will have on such victim. This notification shall be sent to the last address provided to the Board by any victim of a crime for which the prisoner was incarcerated. The Board shall endeavor diligently to contact the victim prior to making any decision to release any inmate on discretionary parole. The victim of a crime for which the prisoner is incarcerated may present to the Board oral or written testimony concerning the impact that the release of the prisoner will have on the victim, and the Board shall consider such testimony in its review. Once testimony is submitted by a victim, such testimony shall remain in the prisoner's parole file and shall be considered by the Board at every parole review. The victim of a crime for which the prisoner is incarcerated may submit a written request to the Board to be notified of (i) the prisoner's parole eligibility date and mandatory release date as determined by the Department of Corrections, (ii) any parole-related interview dates, and (iii) the Board's decision regarding parole for the prisoner. The victim may request that the Board only notify the victim if, following its review, the Board is inclined to grant parole to the prisoner, in which case the victim shall have forty-five days to present written or oral testimony for the Board's consideration. If the victim has requested to be notified only if the Board is inclined to grant parole and no testimony, either written or oral, is received from the victim within at least forty-five days of the date of the Board's notification, the Board shall render its decision based on information available to it in accordance with subsection A. The definition of victim in § 19.2-11.01 shall apply to this section.

Viking24
Viking24

Sick liberals have turned our country upside down. This is an animal. Have no doubt about it He will strike again

Tpr365
Tpr365

Bennett should be fired. Wether a bribe or just liberal ideology this cannot be allowed. Should have been executed originally. With an ultra liberal governor I doubt this will be rectified unless the people speak up enmass.

Blueknight47
Blueknight47

I hope someone with a gun is around to stop this Cop Killer before he claims another victim.
Unless it's parole board member or Gov Newman. Then wait and See what Killer does.

JBoH
JBoH

"...this Board does not respond to this type of pressure..."

Apparently this board doesn't respond by obeying it's own statutes and procedures either.

ldbird
ldbird

This makes me sick to my stomach. Unbelievable. Killed the Officer execution style. Prayers to this Officers family.

RunCop
RunCop

The cop killer looks like the Gov in black face.

XIHP308
XIHP308

Got a retrial on a technicality that didn't affect the outcome. So with that line of though shouldn't the family and Police Dept. get a rehearing? Pretty evident the parole board are liars.

Flagsupporter
Flagsupporter

What has happened to the state of Virginia?? Formerly a place of hospitable, conservative values has gone to the toilet by liberal politicians.

ChasingYesterday
ChasingYesterday

Virginia, the new California...or New York, or Illinois. Liberals, they taint everything they touch.

Spindrift321
Spindrift321

Libtardation! SMH!

Stanracer
Stanracer

This is what you get when you have bleeding heart, criminal loving, police hating liberals on a parole board. They should all be turfed and Martin should be thrown back in the slammer.

rmbr343plus1000s
rmbr343plus1000s

I can't put into words how infuriating this is!

PapaJon
PapaJon

Fraudulent Democrat votes put Gov N and the Dems in control of Virginia. They are rushing to destroy every aspect of law and order, constitutional rights, public safety plus any chance the Republicans might ever have to retake control.

John Q Public
John Q Public

Here is the problem: Liberal politicians pandering to racial identity/activist groups appoint these race hustling activists to these boards. Liberals mean well, but are misguided... Law enforcement and citizens for law and order need to get united and organize...

John Q Public
John Q Public

Northam was caught numerous times in blackface at parties, so now pandering
\

Marxest
Marxest

Horrible. But murderers and predators who shouldn't be paroled or released are released from prison on occasion without notifying the police or the victims family. The fact that the victim in this case was a police officer doesn't make this case any more distinct or noteworthy.

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

Every member of that Parole Board should be removed, the parole should be closed and he should be remanded back to prison! The Governot appoints the Parole Board in most states. It should be duly noted and publicized that he is ultimately responsible.

Schick56
Schick56

IDIOTS,😠😠😠

LEO0301
LEO0301

Publish the names and addresses of the parole board that made this decision. If it was my family, I would make sure someone paid the ultimate price.

KrisRVA
KrisRVA

I agree with all the comments this far... but I must add: So... the last several years they denied him parole because of his repeated crimes while incarcerated but this year he's described as having been a model prisoner for over a decade?!

Vrodgirl
Vrodgirl

If this story infuriates you check out the Officer Down Memorial Page www.ODMP.org They notify subscribers when a cop killer is up for parole. The date of parole hearing, circumstances of the crime and Board address is supplied. A letter is provided for you to personalize and mail. Thousands of letters are mailed protesting the release. They are not all successful but a large percentage of them are.

DarrellB
DarrellB

Congratulations Virginia! YOU elected Democrats! YOU elected people that CODDLE criminals and prosecute Honorable Police Officers, and OFFEND their families, whilst at the same time DISARMING the LAW ABIDING public to create NEW VICTIMS.
YOU, Virginians, are reaping exactly what your VOTES have sown. Wallow in it! ! ! !


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