The so-called “killer poet” is seeking parole again.
For more than two decades, we have followed Norman Porter’s case through our New England’s Unsolved series.
Porter’s case has many layers, as the convicted murderer escaped incarceration and lived a double life as a poet and activist in Chicago.
Decades later he continues to seek his freedom.
On Thursday Porter walked into the parole hearing though now 82-years-old, and he says in failing health.
Nonetheless he believes he’s reformed and now has a lot to offer society.
“I deeply regret my behavior, my actions,” Porter told the parole board. “To the families of John Pigott of Saugus and David Robinson of Cambridge, I deeply regret my behavior.”
Porter was convicted of the shooting deaths of 21-year-old store clerk, John Pigott during a Saugus robbery in 1960 and jail master David Robinson, who was killed trying to thwart Porter’s escape from jail in 1961.
Robinson’s great nephew testified his family lost a great man.
“He had options that he didn’t take and for him to say he did everything he possibly could shows he’s not rehabilitated. He has not thought about the consequences of his actions or how his actions impact others,” said Jeffrey Robinson, David Robinson’s great nephew.
But David Haley, a former prison supervisor who first met porter as a prison social worker decades ago believes he has changed and paid for his crimes.
“He’s done 42 years. Of the last 62 years, he’s done 42,” Haley said. “People don’t just do that much time, not anymore.”
The 20-year gap Haley referenced is when Porter was on the run, living a double life as a poet and activist going by JJ Jameson in Chicago until Massachusetts State Police tracked him down.
“I will continue to be a respectful citizen as I have been,” Porter said. “I think I made that decision. It doesn’t mean there weren’t stumbles along the way. We all stumble.”
Porter has sought parole before, including medical parole at the start of the pandemic. All requests have been denied.
“I ask that mercy be a consideration in Mr. Porter’s request for parole,” said Thomas Herman, Porter’s attorney.
Families of the victims say porter never showed their loved ones mercy and changed their lives for generations.
The parole board’s decision could come in six to eight months.
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