HARTFORD – A man accused of brutally murdering of a 70-year-old father of six last month earned 199 days of early release time for ‘good behavior’ while in prison for first-degree robbery, considered a violent offense in Connecticut, House Republican Leader Larry Cafero said today. Cafero said the issue raises questions about the Malloy administration’s Risk Reduction Earned Credits program.
“A hard working father of six is dead and some are wondering why the accused somehow qualified for early release credits,” Cafero said. “The family of Ibrahim Ghazal and the public deserve an explanation.”
Frankie Resto is accused of shooting to death Ghazal on that date in Ghazal’s convenience store. According to a videotape supplied by police, Ghazal is seen handing money over to the gunman who then leveled a gun at the storekeeper. Police said Ghazal died of a single gunshot. Resto turned himself into authorities in New York City a week later.
According to revised statements from the Malloy administration Resto qualified for the early release credits but was unable to use them. The Democrats created the Risk Reduction Earned Credits program in 2011 allowing inmates, including violent offenders, to cut short their sentences by exhibiting “good behavior.’” Republicans opposed the legislation and offered a bill that would have specifically excluded inmates such as Resto from early release. The Democrats turned down the Republican proposal.
“We need to see how the Earned Credits program is being administered, what constitutes ‘good behavior’ and how it is rewarded,” Cafero said. Resto was freed on April 12 and 10 weeks later the murder was committed.
“We objected to the legislation at the time because Republicans felt it was headed in the wrong direction, allowing potentially dangerous, violent criminals to get out of jail early simply by applying for rehabilitation programs or perhaps not committing any additional offenses while in jail,’” Cafero said.
First degree robbery is considered a violent crime in Connecticut and is a Class B felony.
According to the Department of Corrections, Resto began serving a six-year three-month sentence for first degree robbery on Jan. 23, 2007. He earned 176 days of jail credit for time served and an additional 199 days for the Risk Reduction Earned Credits. He was denied transfer to a halfway house and was voted to parole as of Feb. 12, 2012. Because of an issue with his sponsor, he was not paroled and instead released at the end of his sentence.
The original proposal from Democrats would have allowed virtually all prisoners not on death row to be eligible for the Risk Reduction Earned Credits program but were forced by Republican objections to scale that back.