RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Parole Board and its former chairwoman violated state law and its own policies and procedures in the case of a man convicted decades ago of killing a Richmond police officer, the state's government watchdog agency said in a report initially withheld from the public.
Republican legislative leaders on Thursday released the six-page report from the Office of the State Inspector General about the agency's investigation into the release of Vincent Martin. That came a week after the inspector general’s office provided the media with an almost entirely redacted version of the report, making clear at least some allegations against the parole board had been “substantiated.”
The report said the inspector general's office found the board did not initially notify the Richmond commonwealth’s attorney of Martin's release within the required time frame. It said the board also did not “endeavor diligently” as required by law to contact the slain officer's family — who ultimately did have a chance to provide input. And it said the board declined to hear from two people with concerns about releasing Martin.
One of the sisters of slain Officer Michael Connors called the report’s findings “horrific” and “devastating.”
Republicans legislative leaders lambasted the Parole Board, saying the report showed a pattern of willfully ignoring state law and victims' rights.
“The degree to which the law was violated is shocking,” House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert said.
GOP leaders said all current Parole Board members should resign, or be fired by Gov. Ralph Northam if they refuse. Republicans also want Martin’s parole immediately repealed and Martin returned to prison to await a new board’s decision on whether he should be set free.
Alena Yarmosky, Northam's spokeswoman, said the review was procedural and had nothing to do with the merits of the decision to release Martin, who served a 40-year sentence.