Malcolm B. Benson spent 19 years behind bars after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1995.
The 50-year-old from Highland Park, Mich., was released early for good behavior in January 2015, according to MLive.com.
Police say it took only nine months for him to kill again.
His victim, a 59-year-old Army veteran named Stanley Carter, was waiting at a bus stop on his way to work with a group of people when Benson shot him during a botched robbery, according to CBS affiliate WWJ.
Nobody else was injured during the incident, which occurred in September. Witnesses told police that Carter had not been arguing with Benson, nor had an altercation taken place, when the convicted killer walked up to Carter and shot him, according to ABC affiliate WXYZ.
Police also said that Benson sexually assaulted a woman near the scene of the fatal shooting, according to the Detroit News.
Last week, a judge sent Benson back to prison, where he will remain for the rest of his life.
MLive noted that Benson would still have been in prison for his first conviction under current sentencing guidelines, which would have required him to serve 22 years instead of 19.
According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, a 1998 state law, known as Truth in Sentencing, “eliminates disciplinary credits, good time and corrections centers for certain offenders and requires offenders to serve the entire minimum sentence in prison prior to being considered for parole.”
The law, according to the state, “applies to assaultive crimes committed on or after Dec. 15, 1998, and all other crimes committed on or after Dec. 15, 2000.”
Benson was convicted on second-degree murder and felony firearms charges in 1995 and sent to prison for a minimum of 20 years, according to the Detroit News. He was freed on parole Jan. 13, 2015, according to MLive.
“What you noticed is because Truth in Sentencing didn’t come into play until 1998, and his offense occurred in 1995, when we still allowed disciplinary credits,” Holly Kramer, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, told MLive. “Disciplinary credits allowed for parole eligibility to be accelerated for an indeterminate sentence, like his 20 to 40 years, if a prisoner had good behavior.
“Under that system it was five days for every month served, plus the potential for two additional days for exceptionally good behavior.”
Kramer pointed out that accrued good-behavior credit was erased if an inmate committed an offense while incarcerated.
“After Truth in Sentencing, disciplinary credits were eliminated,” Kramer said, “and offenders sentenced after 1998 had to serve at least their entire minimum sentence.”
Police told WWJ that after he was shot, Carter made his way to the parking lot of a nearby restaurant, where he died.
Benson was tracked down at a local apartment building where he was hiding, according to WXYZ.
“Once we got all the tips from the people, the witnesses that were at the bus stop, this was the last piece of the puzzle that we needed,” Highland Park Police Chief Kevin Coney said. “And once we put his picture and information out there, he didn’t come forward — so that’s why he became a suspect.”
Benson was arrested without incident, the station reported.
According to a federal recidivism study, more than two-thirds of prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 were arrested for a new crime within three years of their release.
The study, published in 2014 by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that 71 percent of violent offenders were arrested for a new crime within five years of their release.
“Released prisoners who were incarcerated for a violent, property or drug crime were more likely than other released inmates to be arrested for a similar type of crime,” the bureau said in a statement.
But as The Washington Post’s Yanan Wang reported, the recidivism rate is much lower among convicted murderers, especially when it comes to those who commit murder again.
“Nancy Mullane, author of the book ‘Life after Murder,’ studied the patterns of 988 convicted murderers who were released from California prisons, none of whom were rearrested for murder,” Wang wrote in reporting on the case of Steven Pratt, who completed a 30-year murder sentence — only to kill his own mother two days after his release.
According to MLive, Benson had been charged with first-degree murder in the 1995 case. But the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed that charge when Benson agreed to plead no contest to the second-degree murder charge.
“First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence in Michigan,” MLive noted.