Parolee released early due to coronavirus concerns suspected in Denver murder

Parolee released early due to coronavirus concerns suspected in Denver murder
Stock photo of handcuffs. (luctheo/Pixabay)

DENVER, Colo. — An early parolee released recently from a Colorado prison amid coronavirus concerns is now suspected in the slaying of a Denver woman, multiple media outlets reported.

Cornelius Haney, 40, is accused of murdering Heather Perry, 21, three weeks after being released.

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Although he qualified for parole, Haney’s mandatory release date stemming from a seven-year plea he negotiated for a 2016 armed robbery charge was not scheduled until August, CBS4 reported.

“Mr. Haney was released due to special needs parole criteria. When looking at special needs parole criteria, the Department of Corrections’ medical staff reviews offenders for risk factors related to COVID as documented by the Centers for Disease Control,” Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Annie Skinner said in a statement emailed to The Denver Post Friday.

Haney’s release was granted April 15 in a bid to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus by lowering the prison population, the Post reported.

Perry’s body was found May 9 in an east Denver alleyway, and police used surveillance video to trace Haney’s movements back to the crime scene, CBS4 reported.

According to his arrest affidavit, Haney, found hiding in a motel bathroom, was arrested two days after Perry’s murder. Investigators also found two baggies of suspected cocaine in the toilet, the Post reported.

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