A former member of the Black Liberation Army was granted parole Tuesday after serving 49 years in prison for the murder of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster.
Sundiata Acoli was convicted in 1974 for the 1973 shooting of Foerster, according to The New York Times. He was denied parole in several hearings since his parole eligibility began in 1993.
New Jersey’s top court granted parole to Sundiata Acoli, an ex-Black Liberation Army member convicted in the 1973 killing of a state trooper, one of the state’s most infamous cases. https://t.co/WctsQ9OEwY
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 10, 2022
New Jersey’s Supreme Court made a 3-to-2 decision, stating that Acoli is not likely to commit another crime again after over two decades without any behavioral issues in prison, The New York Times reported.
“We conclude that the board’s finding that there is a substantial likelihood that Acoli will commit a crime if paroled is not supported by substantial credible evidence in the record,” said Justice Barry Albin in the syllabus for the case. (RELATED: Man Who Kidnapped 26 Children, Buried Them Alive, Receives Parole After 45 Years)
Federal law has changed greatly since Acoli’s conviction. A law passed over 20 years after his arrest states that anyone convicted of murdering an on-duty officer is to serve a lifetime sentence in federal prison, according to The New York Times.
Several New Jersey politicians are not pleased about the parole board’s decision in this infamous case, including Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin.
— Acting AG Matthew J. Platkin (@NewJerseyOAG) May 10, 2022
“Our men and women in uniform are heroes, and anyone who would take the life of an officer on duty should remain behind bars until the end of their life,” Murphy stated, according to News 12 New Jersey.
Acoli plans to spend the rest of his days living with his daughter and grandchildren as he is a dementia patient, according to The New York Times.