NEW YORK, NY – On October 7th, Anthony Bottom, who was convicted of killing two NYPD police officers almost 50 years ago, was freed from prison after nearly two decades.
In the early 1970’s, Anthony Bottom, along with two other men, Herman Bell and Albert Washington were all members of the Black Liberation Army.
Black Panther, double cop killer Anthony Bottom paroled to Rochester. pic.twitter.com/4MCBMZdCGf
— Bob Lonsberry (@BobLonsberry) October 17, 2020
In 1971, the men reportedly lured Patrolman Joseph Piagentini and Patrolman Waverly Jones to a public housing project in Harlem with a fake 911 call.
Once the officers arrived, the men opened fire, killing Jones instantly in the attack. Officer Piagentini was still alive when Bottom ran out of bullets, and allegedly took Piagentini’s own gun and began shooting him while he begged for his life.
When speaking about her husband’s assassination, Diane Piagentini said:
“And Bottom heard him, heard his words and continued to shoot him,”
All three men were convicted, however, Washington died in prison, and Bell was freed on parole in 2018.
Now, after serving more than 43 years in prison, Anthony Bottom, who is now 69-years-old, was released from prison on October 7th, according to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, FOX5 news reported.
Some people, including Jose Saldana, supported Bottom’s release, arguing that he is a changed man after serving his time. Saldana was imprisoned with Bottom, but now advocates for older and reformed convicts.
Convicted NYPD cop killer Anthony Bottom released from prison https://t.co/lQsUta9Qbw
— Fox5NY (@fox5ny) October 20, 2020
“He is beyond remorseful. He has completely transformed his life and he has helped an entire generation of younger people transform their lives,”
According to Fox 5 NY, in 2019, the state parole board rejected Bottom’s parole application. He appealed. In September, the board reversed its decision. Bottom was assigned to a parole office in Rochester, according to the Corrections Department, indicating that he lives in that area.
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said in a statement last month:
“It’s absolutely outrageous that the parole board once again has let a cop killer out on to our streets,”
According to CBS2, in all, 16 cop killers in New York have gone free in three years.
“We are talking about assassins walking our streets,”
Piagentini’s wife Diane said that she will now fight for a change in the state Legislature, after her husbands murderers have been released.
Diane had the hard task of raising two daughters on her own after her husband’s murder. When talking about the murderers of her husband, she said:
“Bottom and Bell should never get out of prison, should never have gotten out of prison until my husband comes down the driveway and says, ‘Diane, I’m home.’ And that is never going to happen,”
At the end of the day, no matter how “changed” or “reformed” Bottom is, he is now living in the Rochester area, going about his business, living his life, meanwhile Diane and her girls live every single day of their lives knowing they will never see their husband and father again.
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Here is more on a cop killer that was released from prison in Virginia.
Richmond, Virginia – The man convicted of murdering Richmond Police Officer Michael Connors back in 1979 showcased the epitome of “audacity” after his granted parole when he recently spoke about how the “racist society and racist system” in prison is to blame for all his troubles.
Despite witness testimony pointing him as the killer of Officer Connors, he’s playing the victim and proclaiming he was innocent all along.
Vincent Martin speaks out after controversy over his release from prison https://t.co/TZjHpnFU9G
— 8News WRIC Richmond (@8NEWS) August 11, 2020
Vincent Martin is the man that killed Officer Connors over 40 years ago, and roughly two months after he was granted a parole he likely should’ve never received, he hopped on board to the everything is racist and not my fault train:
“For 40 years, I was incarcerated by no fault of my own. Not my choice. I was put in the system by no choice of my own.”
Except he made that choice when he shot Officer Connors.
Martin decided to use the afforded platform alongside the Richmond Virginia Chapter of the National Action Network to grandstand on the notion of giving people a “second chance”:
“I stand today as a man willing to stand for justice, willing to fight for justice, willing to fight with those who are in prison and deserve a second chance.”
Certainly, the idea of second chances aren’t a bad thing, but there are some actions that don’t warrant second chances. Cold-blooded murder should rank right at the top of that list of no-second-chances.
Martin stated how prison and the criminal justice system is racist – mind you, without evidence – he simply said the buzzwords that resonate with that anti-police crowd of today:
“I have been fighting for my life since I was born into this racist society and racist system both in prison and out of prison. Now that I’m out of prison, I’m still fighting.”
Martin proclaimed that he’s become a target by local government leaders and prominent law enforcement figures, to which he queried “why target me?”
Well, maybe it’s because Martin murdered a police officer.
Maureen Clements, the sister of Officer Connors, stated the following back when she learned that Martin was going to be released:
“My parents have always said the only peace we really received [was] knowing this man was behind bars because he took our brother. They took [their] son.”
But in a pompous manner, Martin feels as though he was deserving of being paroled:
“The fact that the parole board released me shows that I was one worthy of being paroled.”
Well, that parole move might have been legally murky.
The Virginia Parole Board went against its own policy as well as violated state law as they let a convicted cop killer go free. The Virginia Office of the State Inspector General released its findings from their investigation into the Virginia’s Parole Boards decision to release Vincent Lamont Martin.
Martin was convicted of killing Richmond Police Officer Michael Connors in 1979.
The Parole Board originally made the decision to release Martin back in May, however the watchdog agency put a 30 day hold on Martin’s release while they opened an investigation into the Parole Board’s decision.
Despite the investigation into the policies and procedures of the Parole Board, Vincent Martin was released from prison in June. This release sparked outrage among the law enforcement community, state republicans as well as the family of Michael Connors.
‘Virginia's government watchdog agency… found allegations against the parole board and former Chair Adrianne Bennett were substantiated.’ https://t.co/N22k0Cy1PS
— Jeff E. Schapiro (@RTDSchapiro) August 7, 2020
The letter which was written by State Inspector General Michael Westfall to Brian Moran, Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, was first made public late last week, it was redacted to the point that it was unclear what if anything was discovered from the probe. The descriptions of the allegations, proven facts and the investigation itself were all redacted.
CBS News 6 Richmond spoke with Senator Mark Obenshain who is the former chair of the senate judiciary committee. Obenshain told News 6,
“‘It’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. There was an adverse finding but there are six pages of black blocks.’”
Senator Obenshain went on to say,
“’I think virtually every inspector general would concur that it is especially important for them to maintain their independence and for the report not to be sent to political officials for scrubbing or sanitizing,” said Obenshain.
“I sure hope that wouldn’t occur. I have nothing that says that happened. It’s important for their findings to be their findings alone.’”
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. https://t.co/YicKDTRTXb
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) August 7, 2020
Finally this past Thursday Republican Legislative leaders an un-redacted copy of the six page report and that’s when the findings were made public uncovering several violations made by the board as well as its former chairperson, Adrienne Bennett.
As NBC News 29 reports,
“The inspector general’s office found that the board did not initially provide notification of Martin’s release to the Richmond commonwealth’s attorney within the required time frame, did not ’endeavor diligently’ as required by law to contact the slain officer’s family before making the decision to release Martin, and did not allow the victim’s family or other interested parties to meet with the board in accordance with the board’s own policies and procedures.”
Not only did the board not allow the family of Police Officer Connors to meet with them, the report states that Bennett was “reluctant” to contact the family at all.
To be specific, the report says:
“The Parole Report prepared by the Victim Services Coordinator noted that Bennett stated she ‘had been working on this case for four years and the family’s input was the last piece of the puzzle and the Board was reluctant to reach out, but is required by law,’
“The employees stated that Bennett was vocal about not wanting to contact victims and particularly not in the (Martin) case due to the expectation of opposition because the victim was a police officer,”
The report also revealed that even though Martin had been eligible for parole since 1994, Officer Connors family had never been contacted until this year. In addition to the family of Connors, the board did not want to meet with a co-defendant of Martin who had concerns over his release as well as a former shooting victim of Martin.
Vincent Lamont Martin shot Police Officer Michael Connors 4 times back in 1979 when the rookie Richmond Police Officer pulled Martin over for a traffic infraction.
Former Parole Board Chairperson Adrienne Bennett is now a sitting judge in Virginia Beach which is disturbing after reading this report. Bennett blatantly cast aside laws and the Parole Boards Policies as she saw fit. How can someone who has no regard for the rule of law be expected to judge others?
Virginia government watchdog agency: the Virginia Parole Board and its former chairperson violated state law and its own policies and procedures in granting the release of a man convicted decades ago of killing a Richmond police officer. https://t.co/xcKyh2Ot6v
— NBC29 (@NBC29) August 6, 2020
This isn’t the first time the Virginia Parole Board and its former chair have come under fire, back in May of 2020 the Associated Press published a story on the Parole Boards rush to release dozens of violent offenders because of the current coronavirus pandemic.
The AP’s review of parole board records revealed that killers, rapists and kidnappers were released on parole. The AP found that 95 inmates were granted parole in March of 2020 alone. That was half of the total number for 2019.
“’I mean, good grief. What, they were never going to tell us and here we are thinking this killer is still in jail?’said Juanita Gillis, who was informed by an AP reporter that the man who fatally shot her brother in 1993 was paroled by the board in March. Thomas Runyon’s killer, Dwayne Markee Reid, was among at least 35 people convicted in killings who were granted parole in March.”
BREAKING: The Va Parole Board and its former chair violated state law and its own policies when it released a man convicted of killing a Richmond police officer, according to an investigation conducted by the state's official government watchdog agency.https://t.co/hWPmtqe147
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) August 6, 2020
Recently appointed Parole Board Chairman Tonya Chapman said, in an email to the AP,
“’The Parole Board, already inclined to grant parole prior to the pandemic, felt that expediting certain cases was appropriate due to age of the offender, underlying health conditions, and the Board was confident that the release was compatible with public safety,’”
Chapman also said “that in normal circumstances there’s usually time for prosecutor notification, ‘however, these are unprecedented times.’”
According to Phil Ferguson, the longtime Commonwealth Attorney for Suffolk where Reid murdered Thomas Runyon;
“’These are the most violent criminals you can get’”
“Reid was 16 when he shot Runyon during an attempted drug buy, according to Runyon’s sister and news accounts of his trial, where a prosecutor called the shooting ‘a killing for fun.’ He had already served time in a juvenile correctional facility in connection with a previous killing, according to Ferguson.”
It seems as though Virginia Democrats are less concerned with victims of violent crimes and overall public safety than they are with political advancement and gathering votes.
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