Dem Northam’s Parole Board to Release Convicted Murderer

Gov. Ralph Northam (D., Va.) / Getty Images
August 12, 2020

Convicted first-degree murderer Robert Dwayne Godfrey is set to walk free with parole after serving only 26 years of his 200-year sentence due to a review from Virginia governor Ralph Northam's (D.) state parole board.

Godfrey was sentenced in 1994 for the shooting of 68-year-old Albert Haywood Hamilton Sr., of Grayson County, Va. Before his transfer to a state prison, Godfrey escaped Grayson County Jail, hiding out for 36 hours.

Grayson County Commonwealth's Attorney Brandon Boyles is pushing for an investigation into the parole decision. "I am beyond angry with the Virginia State Parole Board," Boyles said in a statement obtained by the Free Beacon. "I have been in contact with the Office of Inspector General and they have indicated to me that they will open an investigation into this case."

"One of Godfrey's co-defendants was only convicted of robbery and accessory after the fact, and was sentenced to 60 years," Boyles added. "He's still in prison and we have no indication that he's getting parole. How does this make any sense?"

The decision also comes after Vincent Martin, a Virginia man convicted for the murder of a police officer, was paroled despite retaining a life sentence. Martin maintains his innocence on such charges, but several state Republican lawmakers pushed Northam in an open letter to delay the release.

"That the Parole Board would even consider Mr. Martin a suitable candidate for release is cause for serious concern," the letter read.

Northam has made criminal justice reform a major component of his platform as governor. In January, Northam offered a suite of recommendations that included marijuana decriminalization, loosening penalties for petty thefts, and reducing driver's license suspensions.

"Doubling the amount you can steal from your neighbor without serious consequence is unfortunately a prime example of the Democrats' looming agenda on crime and criminals," said Virginia House of Delegates minority leader Todd Gilbert (R.) at the time.

Published under: Ralph Northam