SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday to discuss ending the medical parole loophole for murderers.
Gulluni will be joined with families of homicide victims including members of John Regan’s, Joanne Welch’s and Joseph Brodeur’s families to call for a change in a loophole created by the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018.
The discussion will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Hampden District Attorney’s Office on Main Street in Springfield. 22News will be covering this story and provide additional information as soon as it is released.
The state’s medical parole law has allowed prisoners who are sick to be released early. There’s an accidental loophole with the Medical Parole Act that allows first-degree murderers to apply for release without having to go through the typical legal method of getting a commuted sentence and some lawmakers are trying to change that.
The parole request currently has to go through the sheriff or superintendent and then is decided on by the Department of Corrections commissioner. But there is no appeal process if denied. Typically, a first degree murderer parole request has to go through the governor and parole board.
Since the changes went into effect, the Hampden District Attorney’s Office has been notified by the Massachusetts Department of Corrections of 45 petitions for medical parole. Of those 45 petitions, 47% of those petitions have been made by inmates convicted of murder.
An amendment, would bar first degree murders from being able to apply for medical parole. The current bill allows all inmates to petition for medical parole if they’re either terminally ill with a condition that will likely cause death within 18 months or permanently incapacitated. They must also be able to live without breaking the law and not be a threat to society.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated, “This legislation, evidenced by this case and others, has been exploited to abolish justice once done, at the expense of victims and their families. The loss and devastation of a murder is the unrelenting sentence for a victim’s family and community. Lawful and just murder sentences must have similar finality. Accordingly, we urge legislators to clarify and amend this statute.”
The current loophole goes against the justice system, John Stote from Springfield was convicted in 1997 on first degree murder for the homicide of John Regan. He was granted medical parole for the second time in less than a year.
John Stote was convicted of murder in the first degree. In 1994, Stote purchased a bar in Springfield from Regan and his brother but allegedly fell behind on payments so the bar was repurchased by Reagan and his brother. During a meeting on October 12, 1995 with Stote and Regan at the bar, an argument escalated resulting in Stote stabbing Regan in the office of the bar. Regan’s body was discovered in the Connecticut River, seven months later on May 26, 1996.
Anthony Olszewski of West Springfield was convicted of murder in the first degree. Police found Joanne Welch’s body on January 29, 1982 near a culvert on Shaker Road in Westfield. An autopsy indicated that the causes of death were strangulation, severe trauma, and exposure.
Joann Sliech-Brodeur was found guilty of murder in the first degree of Joseph Brodeur, her husband. Police were called to their home on Bear Hole Road in West Springfield and found Joseph Brodeur lying under a portion of the dining room table, covered with a sheet. He died from loss of blood after being stabbed thirty-four times.