Jerry Lain was convicted of violently attacking Richland Police Officer Mike Fitzpatrick with a knife and gun back in 1982 and was sentenced to life in prison. Fitzpatrick nearly lost his life. In a March 24 deferred decision, the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board found Lain parolable. However, after being contacted by Officer Fitzpatrick, Rep. Parker and other concerned citizens, the governor intervened and overturned the decision.
This is at least the sixth time Lain has been blocked from leaving prison. The law enforcement community in the Tri-City region had been lobbying to block his release.
Washington State Concerns of Police Survivors, a group that honors officers who have died in the line of duty and helps to support their families, said in 2010 that it considered Lain unsuitable for release and believed he posed a serious risk to law enforcement and the public. The group noted that Lain had 18 serious infractions as a prisoner.
Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, released the following statement on the issue:
“I appreciate the governor’s decision and his willingness to do what’s right for the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. This came down to fairness and an understanding that public safety is an important responsibility of government. While I believe in redemption and rehabilitation for those who have been convicted of crimes, it’s also important for prisoners to demonstrate that they have learned from their mistakes and can be trusted, and have their behavior reflect this. Unfortunately, Mr. Lain was not a model prisoner and therefore continues to represent a threat to our communities.”