Former Black Panther who killed NJ cop nearly 50 years ago paroled by state court  

NY Post

A former Black Panther who was convicted of murdering a New Jersey State trooper 49 years ago will soon be sprung on parole. New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 3-2 to allow 85-year-old Sundiata Acoli, the Black Liberation Army activist who killed Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973, to go free. Acoli, who has dementia, plans to live with his daughter in Brooklyn when let out, reports say. Acoli had appeared before the parole board eight times since 1993 — when he became eligible for parole on his lifetime prison sentence. “In light of Acoli’s verbal renunciation of violence as an acceptable way to achieve social change; more than two decades infraction-free in the federal prison system; the multitude of programs and counseling sessions he completed; his honor status as an inmate; his acquisition of vocational skills; and his advanced age, it is difficult to imagine what else might have persuaded the board that Acoli did not present a substantial likelihood to reoffend,” wrote Justice Barry Albin in the ruling. “When a parole decision is so far wide off the mark, or so manifestly mistaken under the governing statutory standard, intervention is required in the interests of justice,” the judge said. Gov. Phil Murphy and his attorney general decried the ruling. “I am deeply disappointed that Sundiata Acoli, a man who murdered Trooper Werner Foerster in cold blood in 1973, will be released from prison,” Murphy said. “In 1996, Governor Whitman signed a law ensuring that anyone who murders an officer on duty will receive life in prison without the possibility of parole, and I profoundly wish this law had been in place when Acoli was sentenced in 1974.”

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