Tri-City officials ask governor to keep convicted felon in prison

Tri-City HeraldMay 8, 2014 

Jerry Lain

Leaders of Tri-City law enforcement agencies have written Gov. Jay Inslee asking him to block the release of a man who nearly killed a Richland police officer 32 years ago.

Jerry Lain, who was convicted in 1982 of attacking the Richland officer, was recently granted parole by a state review board.

Lain needs to draw up a release plan before he can leave prison, officials have said. The plan must then be approved by the state Department of Corrections and the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board.

Tri-City police chiefs and sheriffs in Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties, asked Inslee to keep Lain in prison because he is still a danger to the community. Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller also signed a letter.

“We believe that a close review of the record in this case, including the last three years of Mr. Lain’s lack of progress in prison, show that Mr. Lain still poses a danger to the public,” said the letter signed by Benton County officials. “We also believe a close review of this case, including facts of his shooting a police officer on duty, support a decision to order the cancellation of the parole decision.”

Lain stabbed Mike Fitzpatrick seven times and shot him twice with the officer's own gun after the officers was investigating a car prowl near the Richland Y. Fitzpatrick suffered a shattered jaw, severe stomach injuries and nearly fatal cuts to his arms.

The attack came just five months after Lain was released from an Iowa prison for stabbing a man in a bar fight. And while in prison, he threw acid in another inmate's face, permanently blinding the man.

Lain received a maximum sentence of life in prison for the attack. The parole board set a minimum term of 20 years. His release has been denied at least six other times, including a denial by former Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Officials with the review board say Lain has shown remorse for the attack, taken steps to rehabilitate and served well above the high-end range for the crime.

However, a doctor who recently performed a psychological examine on Lain found he is a moderate- to high-risk to reoffend. - Lain is currently an inmate at the Monroe Corrections Center. His lawyer, Richard Linn, told the Herald Lain would return to Iowa if he’s released.

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