Cornelius Haney Colorado parolee murders Heather Perry Denver woman less than a month after being released early due to coronavirus crises.
Trying to understand how to balance punishment, culpability, the coronavirus while continuing to protect the general public.
Cornelius Haney, 40, was arrested over the weekend for the fatal shooting of Heather Perry, NBC’s 9News-Denver reported. A motive for the slaying wasn’t disclosed by police.
The slaying comes less than a month, after the Colorado Department of Corrections released Haney from prison, on April 15 — four months before his scheduled release — due to the pandemic, a spokesman told local media.
Career criminal was due to be released in four months and had been eligible for parole since 2017:
The felon, whose criminal history stretches back more than a decade, was serving a seven-year sentence for robbery when he was freed in accordance with a state executive order designed to reduce the prison population during the public health crisis.
The order allowed some inmates to leave prison and enter what it called ‘special needs parole.’
‘When looking at special needs parole criteria, the Department of Corrections’ medical staff reviews offenders for risk factors related to COVID as documented by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),’ the spokesman continued.
‘The clinical team reviews the inmate’s medical records to individually confirm the existence of conditions and their severity. The Department also reviews information related to their crime of incarceration and behavior inside the facility. Once the medical and parole team has made a recommendation, the packet is forwarded to the Parole Board for review.’
Gov. Jared Polis acknowledged Friday that Haney was released under an executive order he issued, but said the parole board could not have held Haney much longer.
‘He would have had mandatory parole granted in August of this year,’ Polis stated. ‘He has been up for parole since 2017.’
Polis said the parole board has a tough job.
‘They’re doing their best to make the best informed decisions they can to keep Coloradans safe, as they decide within the legal parameters,’ Polis reiterated. ‘Nobody should be released simply because of COVID-19, of course.’
States across the country have issued similar orders to thin prison populations, which are especially vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks.