*Parole looks to be a possibility for Tupac Shakur’s stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, after serving 30 years of a 60-year prison sentence for the deaths of an armed bank guard and two New York police officers.
U. S. Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr revealed to the Associated Press that the 65-year-old’s parole hearing is set to take place this week the federal penitentiary in Victorville, California, where he is serving his sentence.
Shakur was sentenced in 1998 for being the mastermind behind a string of deadly armed robberies in New York and Connecticut committed by a militant political group known as “The Family.” Despite federal parole being abolished in 1977, it is still granted for inmates who were convicted prior. Rules that were in effect at the time of Shakur’s conviction make parole mandatory for him unless a commission finds he is likely to reoffend or has frequently violated prison rules.
Shakur’s hearing comes years after his involvement in a $1.6 million holdup of an armored truck at a mall in Rockland County, New York. The incident, which took place on Oct. 20, 1981, resulted in the death of Brinks security guard Peter Paige and two Nyack police officers, Waverly Brown and Sgt. Edward O’Grady, who were killed less than an hour after Paige in an ambush after stopping a truck at a roadside checkpoint.
After the heist, Shakur found himself added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and remained on the run until his arrest in Los Angeles in 1986. In addition to the deaths, Shakur was charged with aiding fellow revolutionary Joanne Chesimard’s escape from a New Jersey prison, where she was serving a sentence for killing New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster in 1973, the AP reports.
During Shakur’s trial, an admitted accomplice testified that armed members of his revolutionary group visited the prison, captured two guards and drove Chesimard out in a prison van. The accomplice added that Shakur was protecting the escape route. Chesimard, who now goes by the name Assata Shakur, ended up fleeing to Cuba, where she remains at large.
Through it all, Shakur has maintained his innocence since his arrest. During his trial in the 1980s, Shakur’s attorney argued that there was no proof his client participated in the robberies or aided in the prison escape.
While being locked up, Shakur has amassed a large group of supporters, with many believing he is a political prisoner. In an effort to demand Shakur’s release, his supporters have organized letter-writing campaigns and phone banks as well as solicited donations to support his legal fund.
Upon hearing about Shakur being up for parole, Paige’s son Michael voiced his outrage, saying “That’s the going rate? Thirty years for at least three lives that were taken?”
“I was 16 years when he was killed by these animals,” said Michael Paige, who called the upcoming parole hearing “incomprehensible” and “sickening.” “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my father.”
Like Michael Paige, O’Grady’s son, also named Edward, is not happy with Shakur possibly walking free. So much so that he urged the U.S. Parole Commission to deny Shakur’s bid for release and make sure he spends the rest of his life in prison “where terrorists like him belong.”
“I offer that the crimes Mr. Shakur was convicted of are a brand of violent extremism similar in scope, if not scale, to what we are seeing from the Islamic State and Al Qaeda before them,” wrote O’Grady, a Navy commander.
After Shakur’s parole hearing, the AP mentioned that a recommendation to the U.S. Parole Commission will be made by a hearing officer on whether Shakur should be released. From there, the federal commission will ultimately decide whether to grant parole for Shakur.
For background info on Mutulu Shakur, click HERE.