Man convicted of killing small town police chief asks for early release

PAXTON, Mass. (WHDH) — A man convicted of murder in the killing of the Paxton police chief more than 20 years ago went before a parole board Thursday seeking an early release, much to the dismay of the officer’s family.

“Show some remorse. Show that you worked on yourself. He’s the same person he was 22 years ago. He’s done nothing to work on himself,” said Erin Mortell, the daughter of murdered Robert Mortell.

Jamie Richards, now in his 40’s, pleaded guilty to second degree murder at age 23. However he was not the trigger man when Mortell was fatally shot. Richards was with a trio of thieves that had split up following a 1994 robbery.

It was co-defendant Mike Souza who shot and killed Mortell. The then 38-year-old police chief was off duty at the time of his murder, but responded to Holden’s call for a police dog to help track the suspects.

“The choice was not mine. I did not make that choice,” Richards said at his hearing.

The parole board gave Richards repeated opportunities to apologize to the Mortell family. He declined to do so. Instead, he appeared combative and argumentative, but insisted he feels remorse.

“No one deserves to die for any reason. I didn’t want the man to die,” Richards said.

The 1994 murder of the popular small town chief sent shock waves through the state. He was a father to three children.

“I don’t know how you would expect this man to go into society,” Erin Mortell told the board.

Erin was just 11 years old when her father was killed.

The board did not make a decision on Richards, but they will likely opt to deny parole.

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