Sen. Markley: After second murder, Deafening silence from Legislators who voted in favor of early release

August 30, 2012

Hartford, CT – After this weekend’s murder of an East Hartford convenience store employee, Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington) has joined State Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz in appealing once again to Governor Malloy to immediately suspend the risk reduction earned credit program.

“Legislators who supported this ill-conceived scheme should face up to their mistake and urge the governor to suspend the program now. The early release program has only been in effect a few months, and this is the second cold-blooded murder committed by a violent criminal let out of jail,” added Sen. Markley.

This week, the Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) revealed the defendant arrested for the murder of a store clerk in East Hartford, had been identified by the Department of Correction as an inmate eligible for earned risk reduction credits, despite a lengthy criminal history of violence and repeated unsuccessful probation terms.

“It’s not a matter of politics but public safety. Clearly this program doesn’t work, and we risk another tragedy every day it remains in place,” said Sen. Markley. “Governor Malloy should do the right thing and suspend the early release program immediately.”

According to the OVA Mendez/Batts has a lengthy criminal record with 14 convictions. Some of the convictions include:

  • January 27, 2005 Arrested for Assault
  • March 27, 2005 Arrested for Assault; Threatening; Breach of peace
  • July 9, 2005 Arrested for Robbery; Assault; Conspiracy to commit Assault
  • October 11, 2007 Arrested for Assault; Breach of peace (while incarcerated)
  • January 26, 2010 Arrested for Assault; Disorderly conduct
  • April 26, 2010 Arrested for Reckless driving; Operating a motor vehicle w/o a license; Improper lane change
  • June 7, 2010 Arrested for violation of protective order; Threatening; Disorderly conduct
  • June 21, 2010 Arrested for Disorderly conduct
  • July 1, 2010 Arrested for Larceny 4th; Interfering/Resisting arrest; Reckless endangerment
  • September 28, 2011 Arrested for Threatening
  • July 22, 2012 Arrested for Failure to obey stop sign; illegal operation of a motor vehicle under suspension
  • August 25, 2012 Arrested for Murder; Felony murder; Robbery; Criminal use of weapon; Criminal possession of weapon

According to the Department of Correction more than 7,589 inmates have been released from prison under the RREC program which began in October, 2011.

In June, a Meriden EZ Mart owner was gunned down by a convicted criminal who the Department of Correction said was released early through the new risk reduction earned credit program.

Michelle Cruz said, “This is another case that highlights the need to immediately suspend the risk reduction earned credit program (RREC) until the program can be adequately evaluated to address issues, including the awarding of RREC and compliance with inmates’ offender accountability plans, as well as to ensure that appropriate supervision measures are in place to monitor the masses being released into our communities.”

“The people of Connecticut opposed this from the start, and as usual, the people were right. Thousands have made their voice heard by signing petitions and contacting elected officials,” said Sen. Markley. “I was amazed when the Democrats passed early release last session–their silence now is even more disturbing.”

Sen. Markley represents the 16th district towns of Southington, Cheshire, Waterbury and Wolcott.