DA to Oppose Parole for Killer of Paxton Police Chief

October 11, 2017

Oct. 11, 2017

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tim Connolly 508-368-7236

Or 508-688-5565

             WORCESTER – Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. will oppose the early release from prison of a man convicted of 2nd degree murder in the 1994 killing of Paxton Police Chief Robert J. Mortell.


Jamie C. Richards, who was 22 at the time of the murder, will argue for his release from prison during a hearing before the state Parole Board at noon on Thursday in Natick. Col. Richard D. McKeon, now commander of the Massachusetts State Police, but who was the lead investigator on the murder, will testify against granting Richards parole.

Richards was one of three men convicted of murder after Chief Mortell was shot and killed on Feb. 1, 1994 in the woods off Route 31 in Holden. Chief Mortell had been pursing three men suspected of breaking into a house on Kendall Road in Holden and stealing a truck at gunpoint.

Michael D. Souza, who was 25 at the time of the killing, was later convicted of 1st degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Richards, and a third defendant, Kenneth N. Padgett Jr., then 22, were convicted of 2nd degree murder and became eligible for parole after serving 15 years in prison.

Richards, who has twice waived his right to a parole hearing, is facing the Parole Board for the first time. Padgett has been denied parole by the board twice.

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