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Says He Has No Plan to Return : Wscaped Killer Sends Apology to Prison Chief for Broken Vow

December 28, 1987|Associated Press

BOSTON — A murderer who escaped two weeks ago has sent a letter of apology to the head of the state's prison system, but he said he has no plans to return.

"I'd rather get the apology face to face," said Correction Commissioner Michael V. Fair, who had arranged for the inmate to be transferred to a minimum-security prison.

The inmate, Armand Therrien, broke his promise of good behavior to Fair, who overruled a correction classification board ruling in 1985 and approved Therrien's petition for transfer to a minimum-security prison in Lancaster.

"He was an atypical inmate because of his background," Associate Commissioner Dennis Humphrey said Sunday. "He stood out."

Therrien, 51, a former New Hampshire state trooper who was serving two consecutive life terms for killing his business partner and a Westwood police officer in 1975, escaped Dec. 11 while on a regular work assignment at Worcester State Hospital.

While an inmate at the medium-security Norfolk State Prison, Therrien became acquainted with a number of corrections officials, including Fair, who was superintendent of the Norfolk prison before becoming commissioner in 1981.

"He was educated, intelligent and had a police officer's way of looking at things," Fair told the Boston Sunday Herald. "He wasn't just a street-wise con man."

Therrien joined the New Hampshire State Police in 1964 and rose to the rank of corporal of detectives before resigning in 1973.

Fair, who refused to disclose details of the letter or where the letter was postmarked, said Therrien taught adult education at Norfolk and Lancaster.

"It hurt and I took it personally because it was the first time in more than 19 years that a prisoner went back on his word to me after a personal commitment," Fair said. "I prided myself on that record."

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