Grant County, OR - Sidney Porter, the killer of John Day Police Officer Frank Ward, will soon regain his freedom.
According to Blue Mountain Eagle, the Oregon Supreme Court denied a request on Thursday to review an Appeals Court decision. This denial reinstated Porter's 2013 prison release date. And the reason given was due to legal errors that year by the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision.
The Grant County District Attorney, Jim Carpenter, said that the Board will now begin putting together a release plan for Porter. He said that the decision of the Supreme Court was disappointing but not unexpected.
On April 8, 1992, John Day Police Officer Frank Ward responded to a call at the Porter residence involving a domestic assault. Porter attacked Officer Ward as he was trying to protect Porter's wife. The "unarmed" Sidney Porter beat Officer Ward to death "with his fists and a 10-pound piece of firewood."
In the Court's legal opinion, Officer Ward's autopsy revealed that he had died from a skull fracture and contusions in his brain. He left behind his wife, two sons, and a daughter.
In 2015, the Board ruled that Porter was still a danger to society and ordered him to remain in custody until 2020. However, in September, 2016, the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned the Parole Board's decision and stated that it did not have the authority to change a release date without "a timely hearing." Both the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court ruled that Porter did not have that timely hearing.
The Appeals Court also ruled, and the Supreme Court upheld, that in addition to the lack of a timely hearing, that the Board did not provide a valid reason by statute for postponing Porter's release date, and the Board could not rely on information that was received later to postpone the release date. No release date has been set.
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