BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge has reduced the life sentence of a Massachusetts man who was convicted in connection with building a bomb that killed a Boston police officer and severely injured his partner 30 years ago.
Alfred Trenkle recently requested to be released because of fears of contracting COVID-19, the Patriot Ledger reported.
Judge William Smith denied the request; however, in a 53-page ruling, Smith found reason to reduce Trenkle’s sentence to 41 years in prison, followed by five years of probation. Smith found that a judge made a mistake in giving Trenkle a life sentence.
“While the Court cannot second guess the jury’s verdict, it can, in determining the appropriate sentence, administer justice with a measure of mercy, even for one who is convicted of a heinous crime” Smith wrote. “By the time Trenkler is released, he will have served over three decades (assuming good time) in U.S. Penitentiaries, including through a pandemic.”
The Boston Police Department said in a statement that the department was “saddened” by the ruling.
In addition, Smith agreed to allow Trenkle to serve the remainder of his sentence at a federal prison in Devens, Massachusetts, moving him from his current facility in Arizona.
Trenkle previously had his sentence reduced, but it was overturned on appeal.
Trenkle was convicted for charges of illegal receipt and use of explosive materials, attempted malicious destruction of property by means of explosives and conspiracy. Investigators say Trenkle built a bomb for Thomas Shay, who wanted to use it to kill his father and collect $400,000 from insurance.
The device detonated while a Boston police bomb squad examined the device outside of Shay’s home in Roslindale. The explosion killed Boston police officer Jeremiah Hurley and seriously wounded his partner, Francis Foley.
Trenkle’s attorney, Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.