Gun laws contain early release legislation - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Gun laws contain early release legislation

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Included in Connecticut's proposed gun control legislation is a line addressing the state's early release program.

It ensures violent offenders will serve at least 85 percent of their original sentence, no matter how many risk reduction credits they've earned.

But to some victims' family members, that isn't enough.

Nearly a year has gone by since a beloved Merdien convenience store owner was murdered inside his own shop.

Police said suspect Frankie Resto demanded money from owner Ibrahim Ghazal, but after Ghazal handed it over, he shot him anyway.

Family members said if the killer had still been serving out his sentence in prison, it would have never happened.

"The killer, I cannot say his name," said Ghazal's son, Fapyo Ghazal. "If the killer, he stay in prison, my dad, he is still alive. That's what I believe."

Fapyo Ghazal still gets emotional talking about the death of his beloved father.

Police said the 70-year-old man was killed last June by Resto.

According to court records, Resto had been released from prison just two months before that, instead of serving out his full sentence.

"He had the choice to be bad guy and he should be in the prison for all of his life," said Fapyo Ghazal.

Len Suzio was the state senator for Meriden at the time of murder. He spoke out for legislation to repeal the risk reduction earned credit program altogether.

"No violent criminal who's a threat to society should be let go before they serve their full sentence," Suzio said.

However, state officials said it actually has kept violent criminals in prison longer than in the past by giving the parole board credit numbers to look at, instead of relying on judgment.

The program also gives inmates an incentive to work to reduce their sentence.

"Crime continues to be down since I became governor," said Gov. Dannel Malloy during a press conference on new proposed gun control measures. "Recidivism is down since I became governor. We've put into place good programs, this being one of them."

A member of Malloy's cabinet said the gun bill puts into statute something that was already a practice.

However, that 85 percent threshold wouldn't have affected Resto's release. He had already served more than that when police said he shot Ibrahim Ghazal.

"How we let these people, dangerous people, be in the street and I don't need another one to feel what I feel and what my family feel," said Fapyo Ghazal.

State officials said they believe this line in the gun control bill will settle the debate on the risk reduction earned credit during this legislative session.

They said that means Senate Bill 123, which proposed repealing the program, would be off the table.

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