Federal judge considers COVID-19 compassionate release for convicted cop killer Alfred Trenkler

BOSTON — A federal judge is now considering whether convicted cop killer Alfred Trenkler will receive a COVID-19 release from prison. Trenkler is now 65 years old and is serving a life sentence for building the bomb that killed Boston Police Officer Jeremiah Hurley and maimed his partner, Boston Police Officer Frank Foley.

On October 28, 1991 Officers Hurley and Foley responded to a call for a suspicious device in the driveway at 39 Eastbourne St. in Roslindale. The device was a bomb that had fallen off a car parked in the driveway.

As they investigated, the device exploded.

Federal prosecutors allege Trenkler built the bomb in a plot with Thomas Shay Jr. to kill Shay’s father, Thomas Sr. The homemade bomb was planted underneath Shay, Sr.’s car.

Trenkler was sentenced to life, but that sentence has been controversial. In April 2007, Trenkler’s life sentence was overturned, and he was resentenced to 37 years. But in 2008, an appellate court reinstated Trenkler’s life sentence.

Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Trenkler petitioned the federal prison in Tucson, Ariz. for a COVID-19 release. The warden refused, and now Trenkler is petitioning the U.S. Government for relief.

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During a three-hour zoom hearing before U.S. District Court Judge William Smith, Trenkler’s lawyers argued Trenkler should granted compassionate COVID-19 release because he is 65, overweight and is suffering irreversible heart damage. They argued if Trenkler contracts COVID-19, he risks death.

Trenkler’s lawyers are also arguing that Trenkler was wrongly convicted and that his life sentence was “illegal.”

A federal prosecutor argued Trenkler refused a COVID-19 vaccine when it was initially offered to him, and when he change his mind, the supply of vaccine had already been exhausted at his prison. The prosecutor noted that Trenkler has been fit with a pacemaker and his prognosis is good.

The U.S. Government is also trying to make the case that Trenkler was given a fair trial and that his sentence, given the nature of the crime, is warranted.

Family members of Officers Hurley and Foley gave impassioned victim impact statements. They urged the judge to reject Trenkler’s COVID-19 release request saying they are still living with the deep pain the bombing cased.

Judge Smith took the matter under advisement, telling attorneys his decision will be issued in writing in several weeks.

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