NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A man convicted in 1974 to face life behind bars for killing a New York City transit patrolman is set to leave prison, just months after another murderer of a police officer was given release by the Board of Parole.
Robert Hayes, 69, has been in prison for the past 44 years and been denied parole on 10 previous appearances before the board, according to Department of Corrections and Community Supervision records.
Charges related to Hayes’ crimes include five counts of murder, attempted murder, 3rd degree criminal possession of a weapon and multiple counts of robbery. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
According to a report in the New York Times at the time, Hayes was linked to the Black Liberation Army group accused of targeting police officers in New York City and elsewhere.
Hayes denied being involved in the shooting death of Sidney Thompson, a transit patrolman killed in the Bronx in June 1973.
“Like other cop-killers up for parole, this murderous terrorist is wrongfully benefitting from a gap in the law that occurred after New York’s death penalty was judged unconstitutional and before the sentence of life without possibility of parole was instituted,” said Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch in a statement.
“It is long past time for our state leaders to take action to fix the holes they’ve torn open in our parole system and stop these cop-killing monsters from escaping into our streets,” said Lynch. “The buck has to stop somewhere, because right now the Parole Board seems to think they are only accountable to the criminals themselves.”
Earlier this year, convicted cop killer Herman Bell, who fatally shot two NYPD officers in 1971, was released on parole in April.
In that case, the PBA’s Lynch led an outcry against the parole board’s decision to release Bell and vowed to “continue to fight in court.”
“The parole board has lost their goddamn humanity to think that a murderer should walk their streets,” he said about Bell.