Families urge lawmakers to change prison release law

David Weinberg (Department of Corrections)

The family of a murdered woman from Seymour is urging lawmakers to make changes.

The man convicted of murdering Joyce Stochmal was just released from prison after serving less than half his sentence.

"We've done what we can to move on with our lives but it never leaves you. It's part of your history,” said Stochmal’s sister Marianne Heffernan.

David Weinberg was the prime suspect, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison, but he was released after serving only 26.

The murder happened 33 years ago. Stochmal was only 19 and was kidnapped while walking to work.

Her body was found floating in the Zoar River. She had been stabbed 19 times.

Weinberg’s released was based on doubt over some evidence, but he had also earned 12 years off his sentence for good behavior.

Stochmal's family said they feel David Weinberg should not have been able to earn good time credits.

"He didn't do anything to proactive to earn that good time credit,” Heffernan said.

If Weinberg was convicted today, he would not be eligible for those early release credits.

The General Assembly did away with them in 1993.

"This bill says let’s get rid of them for everyone even those before 1993, understanding we cannot take away what they've earned but they can't earn anymore,” said State Rep. Themis Klarides.

Under Gov. Dannel Malloy’s watch, murder is one of seven crimes not eligible for those credits.

Stochmal’s family feels those convicted of murder, no matter how long ago, should not get credits.

"In our case with a brutal murder, 26 years is not enough,” said Joe Stochmal.

There could be some constitutional issues with this bill. As for the current law, in order to earn credits, inmates must do a number of things, like educational classes, job training, and for some, substance abuse.

Violent offenders are also serving longer sentences.

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