District Attorney to oppose parole for police chief murderer - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

District Attorney to oppose parole for police chief murderer

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By: News Staff

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WORCESTER, M.A. (WLNE) — The District Attorney of Worcester County, Joseph D. Early Jr., is opposing the early release of Jamie C. Richards, who was convicted of 2nd degree murder for the killing of the Paxton Police Chief Robert J. Mortell in 1994.

Officials said that Richards will be arguing for release after spending 23 years in prison.

He will stand before the state Parole Board on Thursday in Natick.

Colonel Richard D. McKeon, commander of the Massachusetts State Police, was the lead investigator of the murder and will testify in court against granting Richards parole.

Back on February 1, 1994, Chief Mortell was investigating three men suspected of breaking into a house on Kendall Road in Holden and stealing a truck at gunpoint.

Mortell was then shot and killed in the woods off of Route 31 in Holden. Richards, 22 at the time, was one out of three men convicted of murdering Chief Mortell.  

Police said that one of the men, Michael D. Souza, 25 at the time, was convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Richards and Kenneth N. Padgett Jr., a third defendant, who were both 22 at the time, were convicted of 2nd degree murder. They both became eligible for parole after serving 15 years in prison.

“Richards, who has twice waived his right to a parole hearing, is facing the Parole Board for the first time. Padgett has been denied parole by the board twice,” said Tim Connolly, spokesperson for Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.

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