APNewsBreak: Rapper Tupac Shakur's stepfather denied parole

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — The stepfather of late rapper Tupac Shakur has been denied parole from his federal prison sentence for leading a revolutionary group responsible for the slayings of an armed guard and two New York police officers, a Justice Department spokesman told The Associated Press.

Mutulu Shakur appeared for a parole hearing on April 7 at the federal penitentiary in Victorville, California, after serving 30 years of his 60-year sentence. The 65-year-old was arrested in 1986 for masterminding a string of deadly armed robberies in New York and Connecticut committed by a militant political group known as "The Family."

For the first time, Shakur had been eligible for what's considered to be mandatory parole, but his release was denied by the U.S. Parole Commission, said Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr. Federal officials declined to comment on why Shakur's parole was denied, saying the information is not publicly releasable. Shakur will be eligible for parole again in two years, Carr said.

Although federal parole was abolished in 1987, it is still granted for inmates convicted before then. And under the rules in place at the time of his conviction, parole is considered mandatory unless the commission finds a prisoner is likely to reoffend or has frequently violated prison rules.

Shakur was convicted of leading a group responsible for a series of armed robberies in New York and Connecticut, including a $1.6 million holdup of an armored truck at a mall in suburban Rockland County, New York, on Oct. 20, 1981. A Brinks security guard, Peter Paige, was killed during the heist and less than an hour later two Nyack police officers, Waverly Brown and Sgt. Edward O'Grady, were killed in an ambush after stopping a truck at a roadside checkpoint.

Shakur was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and remained on the run until he was arrested in Los Angeles.

Shakur was also charged with helping a fellow revolutionary, Joanne Chesimard, escape from a New Jersey prison, where she was serving a sentence for killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973. An accomplice testified at Shakur's trial that armed members of his revolutionary group had visited the prison, captured two guards and then drove Chesimard out in a prison van. He said Shakur was protecting the escape route.

Chesimard, who now goes by the name Assata Shakur, fled to Cuba and remains at large. She was granted asylum by Fidel Castro, but some U.S. officials have pushed for her to be extradited to the U.S. after the countries re-established diplomatic relations.

During his incarceration, Shakur amassed a large group of supporters, many of whom believe he is a political prisoner. They have coordinated letter-writing and phone campaigns to demand his release and also solicit donations for his legal fund.

Shakur's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.


Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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