BOSTON — A federal judge has reduced the life sentence for Alfred Trenkler, the man convicted for his role in the 1991 death of Boston Police Officer Jeremiah Hurley. Judge William E. Smith’s order could mean Trenkler is released from federal prison in as little as six years.
Trenkler was convicted of building the bomb that killed Officer Hurley and severely wounded his partner, Officer Frank Foley, when they responded to a call of a suspicious device in a Roslindale driveway on October 28, 1991.
Officers Hurley and Foley were members of the Boston Police Bomb squad. Trenkler was one of two men convicted in the case and was originally given a life sentence.
In 2020, Trenkler petitioned the Federal Bureau of Prisons for a COVID-19 compassionate release. Trenkler’s lawyers said the high COVID-19 infection rate at USP Tucson where he was incarcerated, plus his severe heart condition, put him at risk of death.
Judge Smith denied Trenkler’s COVID-19 release request, citing the prison’s falling infection rate and the fact that Trenkler recently received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
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Judge Smith wrote, “Because Trenkler has received his first shot of the Moderna vaccine, and because of the state of the virus at USP Tucson has significantly improved, the Court concludes that Trenkler’s heightened risk for severe COVID-19 does not rise to the level of extraordinary and compelling circumstances.”
However, the judge reviewed Trenkler’s case and found problems with his life sentence, an issue that has dogged this case almost since Trenkler was convicted in 1993. Judge Smith reduced Trenkler’s life sentence to 41 years.
Trenkler, who is 65 years old, has already served 28 years. The revised sentence, which would include “good time,” means Trenkler could be released in anywhere from six to 13 years.
Officer Hurley’s family is deeply disappointed with the decision to reduce Trenkler’s sentence.
“The victims have no rights anymore. It’s heart-wrenching to be honest,” Leanne Hurley Teehan told me.
Teehan is Officer Hurley’s daughter and, like her father, a Boston Police officer.
“It is just physically, [and] mentally draining our family. It’s never-ending,” she said.
The Boston Police Department released this statement to Boston 25 News:
“The Department is saddened by the recent ruling of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island reducing the sentence Alfred Trenkler stemming from a conviction for his involvement in a 1991 bombing which killed Boston Police Officer Jeremiah Hurley and seriously injured Boston Police Officer Frank Foley. Our thoughts remain, as they always have, with the families of these officers and with the countless members of the Boston Police Department who put their lives on the line every day.”
Cox Media Group