Convicted of killing police officer, Oregon inmate asks for earl - KPTV - FOX 12

Convicted of killing police officer, Oregon inmate asks for early release again

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Sidney Dean Porter in court Tuesday Sidney Dean Porter in court Tuesday
Photo of Officer Frank Ward Photo of Officer Frank Ward
SALEM, OR (KPTV) - The last thing Debra Ward wanted to do is step into the public eye again.

But because she wants her husband's killer to stay behind bars, she sat in front of the state Parole and Post-Prison Supervision board and shared her grief Tuesday morning.

“Not a day goes by that I don't wish for Frank and wish he could be with us again,” she said.

Sidney Dean Porter, serving a life sentence for the aggravated murder of John Day Police Ofc. Frank Ward, is asking to be released from prison.

The board granted Porter's release after a hearing in 2013, but Governor Kitzhaber rescinded it. The board then reversed their decision after holding another hearing.

Ward was beaten to death when he responded to calls about yelling at Porter's home in April 1992.

The parole board questioned Porter for three hours about the crime, his prior violent criminal history and the steps he's taken in prison to rehabilitate himself.

“I'm so sorry,” Porter told them. “I've done everything I could possibly do since this happened to show remorse, to show that there is good in me.”

Porter told the board he was fighting with his wife when someone entered the home and pepper-sprayed him.

He said he didn't realize Frank Ward was a cop until after they'd started fighting.

Porter also said he was so drunk he doesn't remember everything that happened that night, including the blow to the head that killed Frank Ward.

Porter described struggling with Ward until they fell near a wood stove and pile of wood.

“It's quite possible that he landed on it or something. I don't know,” he said. “I wish I did.”

Armed with graphic photos, Grant County's newly elected district attorney told the board evidence shows Porter punched Ward several times and hit him in the forehead with a large log.

D.A. Jim Carpenter said Porter should stay in prison because he is minimizing his role in the murder and not taking responsibility.

Andy Simrin, Porter's attorney, said his client truly does not remember all the details of the night because he was drunk that night.

He said Porter has taken all the steps possible in prison to prepare for release, including addressing his problems with alcohol and anger.

Debra Ward told the board she and their twin sons still suffer emotional distress.

Frank Ward's death caused their daughter to develop systemic lupus and she died in 1996, she said.

Debra Ward said she's also developed lupus from the stress.

“I hope you guys weigh the facts here and that you don't open this up again in two years because it takes us that long to get back on our feet,” she told the board.

Several of Porter's family and friends attended the hearing to show their support.

Ward's wife and his brother sat surrounded by police officers on the other side of the room.

The parole board will announce their decision in a few weeks.

If they grant Porter's release, he could get out of prison as early as this June.

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