Published December 29, 2010
The Massachusetts Parole Board is under scrutiny after a local police officer was killed by a career criminal who was released despite serving a term of three concurrent life sentences.
Dominic Cinelli was serving time for shooting a security guard during an armed robbery to feed his heroin addiction when he told the board in November 2008 that he was a changed man, the Boston Globe reported.
Four months later the board unanimously voted to free Cinelli, but police say the 57-year-old returned to his ugly ways Sunday, fatally shooting Woburn police officer John Maguire, 60, while robbing a Kohl's department store. Cinelli also died in the shootout.
But critics say Cinelli isn't the only person to blame for Maguire's death.
"I don't know how any member of the Parole Board justifies that," Laurie Myers, president of Community Voices, a Chelmsford-based nonprofit that advocates on behalf of crime victims, told the Globe. "He shouldn't have been out, and now there's another person dead."
Cinelli had a lengthy rap sheet filled with armed robberies, assaults and other offenses, had been serving three life sentences since 1976, and had chronic disciplinary problems while in prison including two escapes during which he committed crimes, the Globe reported.
Still, he won the board over by saying the deaths in the family, including his mother's, and drug counseling changed him, the paper reported.
"When you hear that somebody who had been serving three life sentences is released on parole and commits another violent crime that causes the death of a police officer, that causes us great concern," Mark K. Leahy, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and the Northborough police chief told the Globe.
John Grossman, the state's undersecretary of public safety and security, told the Globe that Gov. Deval Patrick ordered the Parole Board to review the decision.
"We're doing a complete look at what happened, and whatever amount of time it takes to do it right, we're going to take," he said.