News10NBC Investigates: Here’s the transcript of a parolee released one week before he was charged with murder
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — News10NBC has the transcripts that show why a man who violated parole a month after he got out of prison was allowed back into the community.
A week after that court decision, the parolee was arrested for murder. The man’s name is Lequan Hill. Hill was paroled from prison in September. In October, he was arrested for cutting off his ankle bracelet.
The transcript is from the parole recognizance hearing the next day. The transcript shows the parole officer wanted the court to keep Hill in jail until the parole violation case was over.
“The recommendation of the Department is to remand pending outcome of the violation proceedings,” Parole Officer Traci Schrader said.
That process can take up to 90 days. But Hill’s lawyer said parole found Hill at his family’s home, that he just got a job and the maximum penalty for cutting off his ankle bracelet is seven days “which he would far exceed should he be remanded into custody” said Krystian Opalinski from the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office.
Judge Doug Randall agreed, saying, “Mr. Hill was found in his home and can only receive a seven-day sentence if he’s convicted of absconding, so I’m going to release Mr. Hill pending the preliminary hearing and final hearing.”
Hill was released to parole with a new GPD bracelet. One week later, Lequan Hill was arrested for stabbing and killing a neighbor, Antoine Parris.
Michael Harrigan, Assistant District Attorney: “There was an argument that Mr. Hill was having with his father at the time and Mr. Parris attempted to intervene and then Mr. Hill stabbed him.”
Brean: “He’s a parolee. He was let out of prison early. How does that impact the prosecution of a murder case?”
Harrigan: “It doesn’t impact the prosecution of it. It might impact a bail argument.”
Hill is now in jail without bail. The state parole reform called “Less is More” affected what happened to Hill prior to the murder.
Among the changes, the reform moved these parole violation recognizance hearings from prisons into county courts and told judges the only factor they can consider is whether a parolee will show up to court.
Brean: “Prior to Less is More, could a judge consider or could the system consider whether or not a parolee was dangerous?”
Gina Lopez, NYS Parole Officer: “Before Less is More, any violation was an automatic detain-in-custody until your violation process was completed.”
On behalf of Judge Randall, the state office of court administration said “Judge Randall was only allowed to consider if this parole violator is a flight risk or if he will return to court. He is not allowed to consider if the violator presents a danger to the community.”
Advocates for parole reform say approximately 13,000 parolees have done well enough they were removed from parole early, reducing the number of parolees in New York State by almost half. Hill is back in court on the murder case in February.