The release on parole of a man convicted of murdering an off-duty police officer and a convenience store clerk in 1983 drew an expression of outrage yesterday from Prince George's County Police Chief John Farrell.
Farrell said he was "just shocked and outraged" at the release Wednesday of Kenneth Lodowski, 38, who had served 16 years of a 25-year prison sentence. He said Lodowski was convicted of "cold-blooded, premeditated murder" and the release "is illustrative of a fundamental flaw in the state criminal justice system."
Lodowski and another man were convicted in the June 1983 shooting deaths of Carlton X. Fletcher, 31, an off-duty Prince George's police officer working security at the Goddard Mini Mart in Greenbelt, and store clerk, Minh Phamdo, 20. Lodowski was originally sentenced to death. His case was overturned on appeal and he eventually pleaded guilty. He was given a life sentence that was reduced to 25 years in 1992, police said.
"There is no truth in sentencing," Farrell said, complaining of the repeated reduction of Lodowski's sentence. "It's a complete insensitivity to the people still grieving."
The chief said he plans to contact state officials to find out the circumstances behind the release. "We're going to be on the phone first thing tomorrow morning," he said. "This is going to create a great hurt, not only in the law enforcement community, but with the families."
Lodowski's accomplice in the slayings, Kamel Ali Elfadl, was also convicted and is scheduled to be paroled in April, Farrell said.