Gov. Jay Inslee notified Rep. Kevin Parker this afternoon that he is overturning the decision of the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board to release inmate Jerry Lain. Lain was convicted of violently attacking Richland Police Officer Mike Fitzpatrick with a knife and gun in 1982 and was sentenced to life in prison. Fitzpatrick nearly lost his life. In a March 24 deferred decision, the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board found Lain parolable.
Washington State Concerns of Police Survivors (WAStateC.O.P.S), a group that honors officers who have died in the line of duty and helps to support their families, said in 2010 that it considered Lain unsuitable for release and believed he posed a serious risk to law enforcement and the public. The group noted that Lain had 18 serious infractions as a prisoner.
Captain Mike Cobb of the Richland Police Department, a friend of Fitzpatrick, said he's happy about the decision to keep Lain in prison.
"I support it because he poses a threat to police officers and citizens," said Cobb. "The examining psychologist said he's in the likely to reoffend category."
Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, released the following statement on the issue:
“I appreciate the governor’s decision and his willingness to do what’s right for the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. This came down to fairness and an understanding that public safety is an important responsibility of government. While I believe in redemption and rehabilitation for those who have been convicted of crimes, it’s also important for prisoners to demonstrate that they have learned from their mistakes and can be trusted, and have their behavior reflect this. Unfortunately, Mr. Lain was not a model prisoner and therefore continues to represent a threat to our communities.”
Governor Inslee cancelled the ISRB's order after he weighed the gravity of the crime and reviewed the case record, including a 2013 psychological examination that estimated Lain will continue to be a moderate to high risk to re-offend. Exam administrators also concluded that Lain was not completely forthright in his responses to test questions.
Governor Inslee believes that Lain poses an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety; accordingly, he cancelled the ISRB's order granting Mr. Lain parole.
Cobb said Fitzpatrick stopped working for the Richland Police Department at the end of 1983.
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