Senator Kissel Seeks Sentence Review of Parolee Questioned in Suffield Case

September 11, 2007

State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield), Ranking Senator of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, today is seeking a review of a decision by the state’s parole board to grant parole to Ronald DeMello who violated his parole last week on the same day his girlfriend was found dead in her Suffield home. According to Sen. Kissel the case raises legitimate questions as to whether DeMello should have been released on supervised parole following a three year prison sentence for pleading guilty to third-degree assault on an elderly victim.

“While Mr. DeMello has not been charged with any crime at this point, he did have a troubling history with this victim. It certainly raises questions and in light of the Cheshire incident we have a responsibility to make sure criminals with violent backgrounds are not being released from prison when they shouldn’t be,” said Sen. Kissel. “This case is troubling because he did have a protective order against him by the victim following an incident in 2004. I don’t think we can take anything for granted and we need to investigate to make sure we are doing everything possible to ensure the public’s safety.”

According to published reports, Jadwiga Bodnar died from blunt traumatic injury to the abdomen. DeMello, present at the scene, was held in violation of his parole and taken back to prison. Police have indicated that they have responded to domestic dispute calls between DeMello and the victim on more than one occasion over the years.

Sen. Kissel’s request comes on the same day that the legislature’s Judiciary Committee is holding hearings to examine the state’s parole and prison system to better assure that violent and potentially violent inmates are not being released from prison prematurely. Sen. Kissel, said that this incident is in line with what the committee will be looking at and he will bring the case to the committee’s attention.

“It is not premature to review this case. The bottom line is that Mr. DeMello violated his parole. The responsible thing for us to do is go back and review his record and the paroles board’s decision to make sure that there wasn’t anything in his sentencing transcript that would have indicated that he was too dangerous to be out on parole,” said Sen. Kissel.