Loudoun County, VA (April 24, 2020) – Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman joined law enforcement leaders around the commonwealth and the country in strongly condemning the parole of a Virginia man who killed a Richmond Police Officer in 1979.
After learning of the expected release of Vincent Martin next month, law enforcement officials are demanding that Governor Ralph Northam issue an order preventing the release of Martin, and an independent investigation be conducted into the process used by the Virginia Parole Board (VPB).
In a letter directed to the VPB, the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA) strongly opposed the parole of Martin. Sheriff Chapman, who serves on the Executive Board of MCSA, said “this is a personal affront to every law enforcement officer who dedicates their lives to protect their communities. This action by the parole board is unconscionable and reprehensible. To release someone convicted of capital murder of a police officer is unacceptable.” The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Virginia State Police Association, the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, the Florida Sheriffs’ Association, and the Richmond Police Department were among many law enforcement agencies and organizations to ask the VPB to revisit the decision to grant Martin’s parole.
Martin was initially found guilty of capital murder in 1980 and sentenced to death after he shot Richmond Officer Michael Connors in the neck before firing several more shots into the officer’s head. Martin and three suspects had just robbed a convenience store when Officer Connors conducted a traffic stop on their vehicle for traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way street. Connors was 23-years-old at the time of his murder.
After an appeal of the case to the Supreme Court of Virginia in 1980, a second jury also found Martin guilty and sentenced him to life in prison. Martin was previously denied parole in recent attempts, including in 2019.
At a press conference last Friday, Governor Northam said he would look at the Connors case.
Copies of the letters issued by the Major County Sheriffs of America, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Virginia State Police Association, the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, and the Florida Sheriffs’ Association can be read here.