Prisons head defends parole for officer's killer

Prisons head defends parole for officer's killer Click to Enlarge Photo:

Nov 4, 2011 at 8:32 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota's corrections commissioner is defending his decision to parole a prisoner who has served 29 years for killing an Oakdale police officer.

Tom Roy told a legislative hearing Thursday the laws under which Timothy Eling was sentenced to life for killing Richard Walton in 1982 made him eligible for parole after 17 years. The law was changed in 1993 to mandate life without parole for killing a police officer.

But Roy says Eling qualifies for parole because he's met all the requirements under the old law. Roy says that law still applies and he's bound by it.

Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, who chairs the House Public Safety Committee, disagrees. He told Roy he believes corrections commissioners have discretion under the old law to deny parole to the worst offenders.

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