Michael Cox and his mother, Stephanie Hyman, taken while she was visiting him in prison.
Stephanie Hyman / Contributed photo
On Nov. 19, the Board of Pardons and Paroles granted Michael Cox — who has failing kidneys but has survived two bouts with COVID-19 since the pandemic began — a commutation, the first it has granted since 2019. Cox, 49, who is serving a 75-year sentence for a string of violent crimes he committed on 1991, pleaded guilty to murder, felony murder, aiding and abetting manslaughter, and second-degree assault with a firearm.
Cox has several medical issues such as chronic renal failure, anemia, diabetes and a low red blood cell count. This requires him to use a walker or wheelchair to get around. A mitigation specialist wrote in a document dated July 7, 2020, that the Department of Correction classified Cox as having a medical score of 5, needing 24-hour nursing care for an extended period of time.
After hearing his case, the board knocked 30 years off what was left of Cox’s 75-year sentence, making him suddenly eligible for compassionate release, a form of parole only available to inmates who suffer from terminal or very serious illness that could be mitigated by a commutation, said Richard Sparaco, the board’s executive director.
– Mark Zarektsky and Kelan Lyons