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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Parole Board To Re-Examine Decision To Release Cop Killer

Oregon Department of Corrections

An Oregon man convicted of killing a police officer more than 20 years ago will stay behind bars for at least a few more months. The Oregon Board of Parole said Tuesday that it will re-examine its decision to release Sidney Dean Porter.

In 1992, Porter beat and killed John Day police officer Frank Ward with his fists and a piece of firewood. The murder shocked the eastern Oregon community. Porter got a life sentence but is now eligible for parole. In fact, he was set to be let out of prison this Friday.

State lawmakers held a hearing last week decrying the pending release, but the decision lies in the hands of the Board of Parole.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, who appoints the three-member panel, wrote a letter asking for the Board to take another look at the case. The governor questioned whether the board fully considered the circumstances surrounding the killing and whether Porter has expressed responsibility for the crime.

Now, the board says it will put Porter's release on hold. They'll re-open the parole hearing this fall.

On the Web:

Oregon Board of Parole- official site