I don't often write about issues outside of Hartford, but I think this one needs to be said. I often think the treatment of criminals has lost sight of our victims, The number of convicted felons arrested with guns after shooting or killing another victim is a problem. I think our courts have become far too liberal and are more concerned for the criminal, even when they are convicted felons and have no problem carrying an illegal weapon and using it to kill or injure their next victim.
But one case has just forced me to speak out.
When felon Gary Castonguay shot and killed his last victim I was still a senior in High School in 1977. I don't remember that case, but from accounts I have read.Castonguay shot and killed 33 year old Plainville Police Officer Robert Holcomb as he attempted to flee from a Burglary he had just committed. From accounts, Castonguay shot Holcomb at least three times in the chest at close range, ending his life.
Castonguay has now applied for Parole and for reasons that boggle my mind, the Board initially honored Castonguay's request and granted him a Parole Date for later this year. It appeared there were several bureaucratic screw-ups and now that request is under review and being reconsidered. Two of the major mistakes were that due to the age of the case, some of Officer Holcomb's who normally showed up at the hearings to oppose parole have passed away and no family members were notified of the upcoming hearing. Apparently the State's Attorney's Office also wasn't notified to oppose the request..
Aside from the mistakes though, I have to wonder what would run through the mind of any Parole Board member that could have a killer sitting before them knowing that the man had fired several bullets into the chest of a police Officer entrusted to protect or communities, cold blooded killing him and taking him and his life away from his family/. And then making the decision that cold blooded killer sitting before you should get a taste of freedom again. I could care less if he was 80 years old and on a respirator, any convicted cop killer does not deserve to get a taste of freedom again, no matter what.
I know there are issues with the way some communities think of law enforcement, but Police Officers are the basic foundation of order in our communities, and anyone that clearly takes the life of a police officer deserves life behind bars with no opportunity for parole. I would further say that Death would be a suitable option for anyone that kills a Police Officer in the commission of a crime, but we all know what our Legislature did with that.
In the meantime, Castonguay needs to be guaranteed that his last breath will be taken from the stale air inside a maximum security prison. His actions demand that and no panel of liberal reformists should be able to change that. I am not sure if the DOC keeps a list, but I for one would be willing to volunteer as a pall bearer to carry Castonguay and his casket out of the prison when he takes his last breath. I think that's all we owe to his memory and definitely not one day of freedom.
You can read more on this from Kevin Rennie's column in the Courant
**I Intend to be very tight on comments submitted on this post so please keep it respectful to Officer Holcombs memory
UPDATE- on Sunday a reader posted the following comment, I support sending your thoughts and comments to the Parole Board as well as the Governors Office, and calling also.
"The new hearing is set for March 25. Flood the Parole Board with letters
opposing the parole
Governor Malloy's Office- 860-566-4840