Parole of cop killer overturned, faces review

Parole of cop killer overturned, faces review

Parole of cop killer overturned, faces review

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by FRANK MUNGEAM, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 5 at 9:50 AM

SALEM -- The Oregon Parole Board Tuesday issued an order to rescind the June 7th, 2013 release date of inmate Sidney Dean Porter, and said it would revisit the case in September, 2013.

This decision was made after consultation with Governor John Kitzhaber's office.

Earlier this year, the board granted Porter parole after he served 20 years of a life sentence for killing John Day policeman Frank Ward.

The decision led dozens of police officers from across the state to rally in Salem to express outrage that a man convicted of killing an officer was granted parole.

A House judiciary committee listened to arguments from both sides last week but the final decision lay with the Parole Board. 

In 1992,  Ward responded to Porter's house, where Porter was beating his wife. Porter then murdered  Ward with his bare hands and a piece of firewood.

In February, the three-member Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision determined that Porter was fit to be released. The board did not notify the John Day Police Department of its decision.

“Police take care of us," said Ben Ward, the victim's brother. "Aren't we going to take care of them?”

Ward’s brother told the judiciary committee at a hearing last month: “This means you and the board make decisions to free criminals after they kill a police officer who protects you and your community? What good, then, is my brother as a police officer?”

The Oregon Peace Officers Association wrote a letter to Governor Kitzhaber asking for support in opposing the parole board's decision.

But the Governor’s office released a statement saying the decision was out of his hands: “Ultimately, it's an independent board that makes its own decisions.”

At the time, Jay Scroggin, Executive Director of the Oregon Board of Parole, defended the board's parole of Porter. 

“Legally, we feel like we followed the process for how this hearing was conducted, and the board felt like he met the burden to be released,” Scroggin said. 

Tuesday, the Parole Board said a new exit interview hearing would be held at a date to be determined in September 2013.

KGW reporter Katherine Cook contributed to this report. 

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