State Sen. Len Suzio is calling for the suspension of the Early Release Program following the shooting death of a store clerk in Meriden, but now questions are being raised over his calls to repeal it after asking for a constituent of his to be released from jail early just two weeks prior to the killing.
"I am convinced he would not present a risk to the community," Suzio said in a letter to the Department of Corrections on June 12.
In the letter, he speaks of an inmate, John Papandrea, and asks the Department of Corrections to "closely consider" his achievements in school, family support and his "sincere desire to have a second chance in proving he can be a worthy and contributing member of society."
Now, Suzio's calls to end the Early Release Program and to order an investigation into how the program is administered and how it affects public safety aren't sitting well with Under Secretary of Criminal Justice Mike Lawlor.
"The idea that candidates for office would be dragging crime victims and recent homicides in front of TV cameras to help bolster their own re-election campaign, I think that's really outrageous," Lawlor said.
Ibrahim Ghazal, 70, was shot and killed after handing over money during a robbery June 27 at the EZ Mart on East main Street in Meriden, and Frankie Resto was arrested and charged for the crime.
"The remainder of (Resto's) sentence was around 200 days," said State Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz. "He had 199 days of good time credit. Do the math. There was no option but to release him because of the program."
In a statement released by Lawlor on Friday, he speaks of Suzio's calls for his constituent, Papandrea, to be released from prison early.
"The hypocrisy of Sen. Suzio's actions is that much more outrageous when you consider he recently requested that a convicted felon be released after only serving 10 percent of his sentence," he said. "Papandrea was convicted of a Bernie Madoff-like crime of embezzling over $1 million from his employer in order to buy artwork for his home."
Because of the crime, Lawlor said, 18 employees needed to be laid off.
Suzio said he admits to asking for Papandrea's early release, but said that's a different situation because he isn't a violent criminal. Channel 3's Susan Raff asked Suzio for a comment that people are saying he is pushing the hot-button issue to help with being re-elected.
"My job as a legislator is to protect the public," Suzio said. "What I'm advocating for is the safety of the public. That's what this crime highlights.
"Suzio began lobbying for his early release from prison after he served just seven months of his 72-month sentence. Today he is calling on (Gov. Dannel Malloy) to suspend the very program he was hoping to take advantage of for one of his well-connected constituents. Does he not think anyone was hurt by Mister Papandrea's actions? Maybe he can tell that to the innocent employees who lost their jobs," Lawlor said.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
A 13-year-old boy from a New Orleans suburb was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 5-year-old half-sister after investigators said he told them he repeatedly struck her with wrestling moves...More >
A 13-year-old boy from a New Orleans suburb was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 5-year-old half-sister after investigators said he told them he repeatedly struck her with wrestling moves imitated from...More >
A heartbreaking photograph is making its rounds on the Internet that shows a child in a wheelchair that has been separated fro the rest of his classmates in a class photo.According to The Province, motherMore >
A heartbreaking photograph is making its rounds on the internet that shows a child in a wheelchair that has been separated from the rest of his classmates in a class photo.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 10:36 AM EDT2013-06-19 14:36:52 GMT
A Connecticut gun manufacturer is moving to South Carolina after Connecticut state lawmakers passed stricter gun control laws after the Sandy Hook School shootings. PTR Industries will make the formalMore >
A Connecticut gun manufacturer is moving to South Carolina after Connecticut state lawmakers passed stricter gun control laws after the Sandy Hook School shootings.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 6:28 AM EDT2013-06-19 10:28:50 GMT
Cap'n Crunch may have a mutiny on his hands.A writer at foodbeast.com pointed out something fishy up the Cap'n's sleeve: Three stripes.According to the United States Navy, the rank of captain carries fourMore >
Cap'n Crunch may have a mutiny on his hands.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:51 PM EDT2013-06-19 17:51:37 GMT
Watertown police are searching for a man, who allegedly shoplifted from a Rite Aid store on Wednesday. The man, described as Hispanic and in his twenties, allegedly stole $300 worth of Breath Right Strips.More >
Watertown police are searching for a man who allegedly shoplifted from a Rite Aid store on Wednesday.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 3:53 PM EDT2013-06-19 19:53:24 GMT
An Enfield man has been sentenced to 30 days in jail in the deaths of 3 hunting beagles that were shot and killed by his son. John Lake was not with his 13-year-old son when the boy shot the beagles inMore >
An Enfield man has been sentenced to 30 days in jail in the deaths of 3 hunting beagles that were shot and killed by his son.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 6:44 PM EDT2013-06-19 22:44:09 GMT
East Hartford police arrested a woman they said assaulted her child.Few details were released by police, but they said Karla Bloom, of Pratt Street, was arrested and charged with first degree assault andMore >
An East Hartford woman was arrested after she was accused of shaking her infant daughter to the point she caused a brain injury to the 7-week-old child.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 9:03 PM EDT2013-06-20 01:03:58 GMT
Connecticut State Police said they were assisting Winsted police in investigating a standoff Tuesday morning.The incident was reported in town before 10 a.m.It's unknown what led to the standoff.PoliceMore >
A kidnapping suspect was arrested following a two-hour standoff with police in Winchester on Tuesday morning.More >