You have to wonder what is wrong with our state's parole board when it's willing to turn someone like Jerry Dean Lain loose on society.
In 1982, Lain stabbed and shot a Richland police officer who was responding to reports of a vehicle prowler near Columbia Park.
That Mike Fitzpatrick, the first Richland police officer shot in the line of duty, survived the attack is beyond belief.
Lain stabbed the young officer seven times, but that wasn't enough. Lain then took Fitzpatrick's gun, wedged it under the officer's protective vest and fired. Still not satisfied, Lain put the gun to the injured cop's face and pulled the trigger, execution-style, as Fitzpatrick lay helpless on the ground.
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But after Lain has served 28 years in prison, the wise souls on the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board have decided that he should be freed, that he's "a fit subject for release."
Fitzpatrick is adamant that the decision is a mistake. And he would know. After all, Lain tried to kill him, going to great lengths to make sure he succeeded.
Changes in state law since Lain's sentencing allow the board to decide that he has earned his release. Fitzpatrick argues that the Benton County judge who sentenced Lain intended for him to remain behind bars for the rest of his life.
If the state has its way, Lain will be a free man Monday. He has been paroled to Iowa, where his family lives and where he served time for stabbing a man during a bar fight. And he was no model inmate back then. He blinded one inmate with acid and attacked another with a claw hammer.
He was wanted for a parole violation in Iowa when he attacked Fitzpatrick here.
Lain is a bad man who has already used up his second and third chances.
Gov. Chris Gregoire needs to put a stop to his release.
Sure, Lain is supposed to be living in Iowa upon his release, and he's off our turf. But that doesn't make it right. He began his criminal career in Iowa, and there's nothing to say he won't continue it there, no matter how many programs he's completed in prison.
His disciplinary record has only been clean for six years in the state prison in Monroe.
The poor folks in Iowa don't really have a choice, as officials there can't block his parole under an interstate compact with Washington.
"If the person is returning to the community that they are from, and if there is acceptable housing, we have to accept him," an Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman told The Des Moines Register this week.
Iowa corrections officials plan to have Lain stay in a halfway house for six months, then move to his rural home county with an ankle bracelet to monitor his movements. He would be under supervision by the state for three years. Then Lain would be free as a bird, while Fitzpatrick is sentenced to live with the results of Lain's actions for the rest of his life, reminded of the attack every time he looks in the mirror.
And just who are Washington officials looking out for? Certainly not Lain's victims. In fact, our parole board determined it would be too dangerous for Lain to serve his work-release in Western Washington. Cop killers aren't in favor there, after all.
Our governor owes it to the people of both states to step in and keep this dangerous man in prison for the rest of his life.