The man convicted in the killings of two Springfield police officers in 1985 has been granted parole.
Juan Ortiz has spent the last 27 years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder. Now, those who knew the officers who died are reacting to the decision.
"It's tough to put into words but whether they kept him in jail, let him out of jail, the fact remains the same that Alain Beauregard and Michael Schiavina are still missing," said Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney.
Delaney was one of the first to respond when the officers were shot.
"They were friends of mine and it's been a great loss since then," said Delaney.
Back in 1985, the two officers were murdered during a routine traffic stop. Eduardo Ortiz fired the shots that killed the officers and then later turned the gun on himself. His brother Juan Ortiz, who was in the car at the time of the shootings, was convicted for the murders.
The state's parole board ruled 4-2 to grant Juan Ortiz parole. The decision comes four months after he admitted responsibility for the deaths of the officers to the board.
Juan Ortiz was eligible for parole back in 2000 and was denied three previous times.
Congressman Richard Neal was mayor of Springfield when the murders occurred.
"It was the worst moment I had as mayor," said Neal.
He didn't have any comment on the parole but did say he'll never forget the moments he learned both officers had died.
And all these years later, Delaney still wears a pin with the badge numbers of Beauregard and Schiavina and remembers the great men they were.
"They were really good police officers, they were dedicated to their job," said Delaney. "Alain Beauregard broke me in on the job. He taught me how to be a police officer. Michael Schiavina was a friend of mine - was a police cadet with me."
Juan Ortiz will spend the next 18 months in a lower security facility to help him begin his transition to being released.
Once released, he is to have no contact with either of the officer's families and he's not allowed to live or work in Hampden County.
Juan Ortiz has been given permission to move to Chicago where he has family.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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