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Slain Officer's Family Urges Changes To Parole System

Slain Officer's Family Urges Changes To Parole System

(Stock Photo)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via YellowBrix

December 21, 2009

Family and friends of slain Penn Hills police Officer Michael Crawshaw have sent a letter to 100 state lawmakers, judges and other officials urging them to strictly enforce and tighten guidelines for criminal sentencing, parole and parole violations.

Ronald Robinson, 32, of Homewood, who is charged with the slayings of Officer Crawshaw and another man Dec. 6, has a long criminal history and a record of repeatedly violating terms of his parole.

“The system has failed Michael and changes must be made,” the letter reads. "We are asking you to enforce the laws in place the way they were intended and hold people accountable for their actions.

“The guidelines for who gets released need to be re-examined and consideration for release should not be given to those who have shown a general disregard for human life.”

The three-page letter, in which the officer’s family and friends refer to Mr. Robinson by name and contend he should have been in prison, concludes: “Please do your part to prevent more senseless tragedies and to keep another family from suffering a loss such as ours.”

Mr. Robinson is awaiting trial, accused of killing Danyal Morton, 40, in a home in the 200 block of Johnston Road in Penn Hills over a $500 drug debt. He also is charged with fatally shooting Officer Crawshaw, 32, who responded to the shooting call and was in his cruiser waiting for backup when he was slain.

The letter — 60 copies were sent Friday and the remaining 40 yesterday — is intended to produce changes that will be a legacy to Officer Crawshaw and others whose deaths may have been prevented by stricter enforcement of criminal laws and sentencing and parole guidelines, said his cousin, Sarah Kielar of the North Side.

“It definitely would help to think he did not die in vain, that something good will come of his death,” she said yesterday. “We just hope for change so another family doesn’t have to go through what we’re going through right now.”

The letter urges lawmakers, prosecutors and judges to be stricter in dealing with career criminals. It decries such actions as making plea bargains in cases involving gun charges, early release of prison inmates and imposing minor punishments for parole violations.

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