SUFFIELD, CONN. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Connecticut parole board that recently ruled a man who killed a police officer decades ago could go free rescinded its decision Wednesday following outrage from the victim’s family and prosecutors.

Gary Castonguay is serving a 25 years to life prison term for gunning down Plainville police Officer Robert Holcomb while fleeing from a burglary in 1977.

In January, the state parole board voted to release Castonguay in July of this year.

But as WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau reported, an outcry from relatives of Officer Holcomb convinced the board to rescind its decision.

During the hearing at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, where Castonguay is imprisoned, Holcomb’s niece Maria Weinberger read a letter from his widow, Nancy Holcomb Searles.

“Castonguay should remain incarcerated for the remainder of his natural existence,” Searles said in the letter.

Weinberger said Searles was so distressed over the hearing that she couldn’t face her husband’s killer.

Following testimony and without any discussion, the panel of the Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 3-0 to reverse the decision to release Castonguay.

Asked if he had anything to say at the hearing, Castonguay said: “I guess not.”

The hearing was scheduled after Holcomb’s family and prosecutors said they were not aware of the meeting in January.

Board members admitted they did not have complete information about Castonguay’s background, including other violent incidents and threats he made to police, when the initial decision was made, Schneidau reported.

Holcomb, 28, had been a Plainville police officer for five years and was married with a 3-year-old son when he was fatally shot.

Police said Castonguay shot Holcomb once while being chased following a home burglary. After Holcomb fell to the ground, police said Castonguay shot him three more times in the chest at close range.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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