Justice Deferred Was Justice Denied

Sunday night, in the middle of the Great Blizzard Of 2010, three guys tried to knock over the jewelry counter at the Kohl’s Department Store in Woburn, Massachusetts. They’d planned well; they timed the robbery for when the city would be concerned with the snow, and when the employees would be transporting the diamonds and other valuables from the counter to safekeeping.

They’d not planned well enough. The police showed up in time to ruin the getaway. There was a shootout, and the ringleader and the cop killed each other. The other two robbers got away briefly, but were later apprehended.

The officer in question was the son of a cop (a former Chief in Woburn), was 60. He’d had 34 years on the job, and was looking forward to retirement. He’d just finished talking a woman out of committing suicide. He was a husband and father of three.

A sad story, but nothing really worthy of a great deal of notice. Not until the trademarked Mass. Insanity kicks in.

The ringleader was of an age with Officer John Maguire. Dominic Cinelli was 57, and also the son of a police officer. Cinelli’s brother had also shot a cop, back in 1981. Cinelli was a career criminal, out on parole since 2008 — when he had been serving three concurrent life sentences.

Let me repeat that:

He had been serving three concurrent life sentences.

Cinelli’s criminal record included several armed robberies, armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, drug possession, unlawful possession of a firearm.

In 2008, he came up for parole. He’d completed several rehab programs in prison, and was granted parole.

He had been serving three concurrent life sentences.

While on parole, he managed to get his hands on a gun, hook up with a couple of accomplices, planned and attempted to carry out yet another armed robbery.

He had been serving three concurrent life sentences.

He had spent roughly three-quarters of his life either in jail or doing things to get him tossed back in jail. He had proven, numerous times, that he had little interest in going straight, of living the straight and narrow. But the state’s parole board figured he was worth another chance, and another, and another — so they let him go.

He had been serving three concurrent life sentences.

Today, a woman is a widow. Three children are fatherless. And the city of Woburn, Massachusetts is mourning its first ever police officer killed in the line of duty.

Killed by a man who was on parole from serving three concurrent life sentences.

Cinelli’s fellow robber is charged with murder and attempted robbery. He’s being held without bail. The third guy — the getaway driver — says he didn’t know about the robbery, he was just giving a neighbor a ride after getting a phone call. He’s being held as an “accessory after the fact” and held on $1,000 bail.

Cold comfort to the widow and children of Officer John Maguire. There is absolutely no justification for releasing a career criminal who was serving three concurrent life sentences. There was absolutely no reason Cinelli should have been out of jail, let alone free to get a gun, recruit accomplices, and attempt yet another armed robbery.

Except… it’s Massachusetts. That’s just how things go down in the Bay State.

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