A convicted felon who was released from a Colorado prison to protect him and others from coronavirus has been arrested for murdering a 21-year-old woman.
Cornelius Haney has been charged for the first-degree murder of Heather Perry, whose body was found in a Colorado alleyway just weeks after his release.
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Haney was able to commit the murder thanks to Gov. Jared Polis’ executive order freeing inmates from jails and prisons over fears of the coronavirus spreading.
Haney had been serving a seven-year prison sentence after admitting in 2016 to an armed robbery in Arapahoe County, Colorado. Haney was not due to be released until August, but Polis’s order giving the state’s corrections board authority to reduce sentences allowed Haney to walk free on April 15.
In a statement to CBS Denver, the Colorado Department of Corrections said Haney met “special needs parole criteria” and was therefore approved for release by the parole board.
Polis said the parole board did not believe that Haney posed a danger to society.
“He would have had mandatory parole granted in August of this year,” Polis said. “He has been up for parole since 2017.”
“In making those decisions, they are taking into account the safety of prison guards and others, but no prisoner who is a danger to society should be released early in any situation. And of course, nobody on that parole board thought that this person was going to do what they allegedly did, but they couldn’t have held them much longer under the law.“
Haney is now being held at the Denver jail without bail. He faces additional charges of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, theft, and second-degree kidnapping.
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