Man who tried to kill Richland cop may be free soon

Man who tried to kill Richland cop may be free soon »Play Video
MONROE, Wash. -- The ball is rolling to release a man serving a life sentence for a brutal attack on a Richland police officer.

The state parole board says Jerry Lain is ready to re-enter society. However, the latest evaluation calls him highly likely to reoffend.

Jerry Lain is once again up for parole. If you don't know his name, and you don't know his crimes, prepare to be frightened.

Lain nearly killed a Richland police officer back in the 80's. He stabbed Officer Mike Fitzpatrick repeatedly, then managed to get his gun. He shot the cop twice with his own service pistol.

In past interviews, the victim described the brutal attack, saying Lain tried to put the gun in his mouth to finish him off - that if he didn't continue to struggle and fight with Lain, he wouldn't have had a chance.

That's not all. When he attacked the cop, Lain was already out on parole for a stabbing in Iowa.

The crime in Richland was supposed to put him behind bars for life - that was, until the parole board said in 2010 that Lain was good to get out.

Fitzpatrick appealed to Gov. Chris Gregoire for help. No governor had ever overruled the parole board, but she did.

It was a relief to Capt. Mike Cobb, who was on duty at the time of the shooting. He talked about the Governor's decision back in 2010.

"What Gov. Gregoire has done has definitely taken a big step to restore that sense of justice," he said.

That sense of justice would only last four years. Now, the parole board is recommending Lain's release again.

KEPR asked the board how someone so dangerous could possibly get out. They sent us a report detailing a list of reasons.

In it, they say Lain is sober, maintains positive behavior, doesn't get in trouble and is a hard-working carpenter behind bars.

Yet in the same report, a psychological exam revealed Lain is in the moderate to high range to re-offend.

"To not have an individual like that incarcerated just takes away every sense of justice that you have," said Cobb.

KEPR contacted Gov. Jay Inslee's office about reviewing the case. We were sent this statement: "The Governor is aware of the decision from the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board regarding Jerry Lain and we are reviewing the decision very carefully."

That decision could allow Lain back out of prison in a matter of weeks.

If released, Lain is expected to head back to Iowa to live with his parents.