Parolee In ’99 Murder Could End Up In County
Westfield is being considered as a location to house a parolee who raped and murdered a Salamanca woman in 1999. Edward Kindt, who has been in prison since 2000, was scheduled to be released today from the New York State Correctional Facility at Elmira.
In a news release Tuesday afternoon, state Sen. George Borrello said the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision was planning to release Kindt into a motel in Westfield.
“I am outraged that the criminal coddling members of the New York State Parole Board have made the decision to release this killer, disregarding the utterly brutal and heinous details of his crime, the trauma of his victim’s family, and with no concern for the innocent members of the public they are putting at tremendous risk,” Borrello said.
Word of Kindt’s possible release in Chautauqua County was first reported Tuesday afternoon by The Post-Journal and OBSERVER newspapers. Late last week, state representatives voiced their concerns about Kindt re-entering society.
“He should remain in jail the rest of his life,” Borrello said. “However, if the two individuals of the three-member Parole Board panel who voted to free him believe that Edward Kindt is fit to live in society, then I ask them to come forward so we can make arrangements for a placement near their homes and their families.”
On Mother’s Day, while she was out jogging with her two dogs on a nature trail near her home, Brown was ambushed and sexually assaulted by Kindt, who ultimately strangled her with her dog’s leash. Because he was 15 at the time of the killing, he was spared a life term on his plea to second-degree murder and sentenced to nine years to life in prison, the maximum sentence available for a juvenile at the time.
A statement from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision on Tuesday did not indicate where Kindt would be located once he is freed. The department noted Kindt came before the Board of Parole on Feb. 17 and was granted a release date of today. He was to be released upon completion of his community preparation, which could be on or after his release date.
As of Tuesday, officials said, Kindt remained incarcerated.
The New York state Board of Parole is the sole entity that considers and determines parole eligibility. It is an independent body whose members have been appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate and neither the governor nor the Legislature has the authority to overrule its decisions. The board members make their decision on whether standards for release are satisfied. Before making a final decision, board members are required to follow the law, which details many factors: any statements made by victims and victims’ families; an individual’s criminal history; accomplishments while incarcerated; the potential to successfully reintegrate into the community; and assessed risk to public safety. State law also requires the board to consider any recommendations about release made by the district attorney, sentencing court and the defense attorney.
‘I HOPE YOU ARE NEVER RELEASED’
Brown’s daughter spoke during Kindt’s sentencing in May 2000. In Cattaraugus County Court, she referred to Kindt as a “worthless piece of dirt” who took away her mother who would not be there for her high school graduation or wedding.
“No matter what I say or do, no justice will be served. No wounds will be healed and no pain will go away,” she said. “You killed my best friend and left me alone.”
At sentencing, Judge Larry Himelein called Kindt a sexual predator and hoped the then-16-year-old would spend the rest of his life in jail.
“It’s almost impossible to believe something like this could be done,” the judge said to Kindt, dressed for sentencing in an orange prison outfit. “I hope you are never released from prison. I think if you are released, it will happen again.”
After the sentencing, several hundred people attended a candlelight vigil at Jackson Park in Salamanca. The light of a single candle was passed from person to person as church bells rang throughout the city.
Following the heinous crime, widespread public discontent with the loophole in the law that prevented Kindt from being charged as an adult prompted the 2003 passage of “Penny’s Law,” a statute that raises the sentence for 14- and 15-year-olds convicted of second-degree murder.
Cattaraugus County legislators also went on record during its meeting last week in Little Valley in opposing the release of Kindt. According to the Times Herald in Olean, Legislator Norman Marsh, R-Little Valley, said Kindt “remains a predator” and noted the judge who sentenced him said “he should never be paroled.” He said the parole board has denied Kindt’s parole eight times.
Borrello’s calls that Kindt should remain jailed were echoed by state Assemblyman Joe Giglio of Gowanda, who represents the Salamanca region. “The parole board, packed with members soft on crime by the former administration, has become far too lenient,” he said. “As a result, violent felons have been released over the last few years, including cop killers, rapists and others who prey on innocent victims like Penny Brown.
“In response to situations like these, I introduced Assembly Bill 2423, which would require the state parole board to include at least one member who is or was a member of law enforcement and at least one member who is a crime victim or crime victim’s representative. This legislation would give crime victims a voice and allow police officers to provide professional guidance on the possible release of those who commit crimes.”