New law closes the door on parole for murderers sentenced to life in prison

Dear Editor:

In 1963, Lodi police officers Gary Tedesco and Andrew Voto were brutally murdered at the hands of Thomas Trantino and Frank Falco. Originally sentenced to death, Trantino had his sentence committed to life in prison when the death penalty was overturned by the United States Supreme Court. Most would have thought Thomas Trantino would spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Unfortunately, that may not be the case.

Even though Thomas Trantino unmercifully killed two police officers, he still remains eligible for parole. In fact, every two years he is granted a parole hearing that could possibly set him free. These hearings are a source of terrible grief for the Voto and Tedesco families, and they are also a slap in the face of every police officer in the state and the families of slain police officers.

As Acting Governor, I recently had the privilege of signing into law a bill that will statutorily guarantee that convicted murderers like Thomas Trantino stay in jail without ever having a chance of being paroled. Convicted murderers should not be given the opportunity to testify at a parole hearing every two years so they can start a new life. Their victims, after all, were not given a second chance. Under this new law, if a death sentence is not imposed in a capital murder case, the convicted murderer will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In other words, a life sentence will mean just that: if you take a life, then you will spend the rest of your life in prison.

Police officers put their lives on the line every day to safeguard the public and keep criminals like Trantino off the streets. Our job, as elected officials, is to support the men and women in blue by making policy decision that prevent murderers from walking free.

This new law will provide the law enforcement community and the people of New Jersey with the assurance that when a convicted killer is sent to jail for life, the prison door will be slammed shut.

Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco


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