The Massachusetts Parole Board has refused to release Frank Lanza, who was convicted of murdering James Paradis in a Lynn apartment building in 1987 when Paradis went to the aid of a woman Lanza had terrorized during a robbery attempt.
Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett applauded the decision, which means Lanza will not have a chance to seek a release from state prison for another five years. The seven-member board voted unanimously against paroling Lanza, who is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
Lanza “took the life of a man who was bravely rushing to aid his neighbor, and, in doing so, devastated the victim’s family,’’ Blodgett said in a statement released Wednesday. Blodgett and the Lynn police both opposed Lanza’s release during a board hearing in October.
The murder occurred on Oct. 23, 1987. Lanza had run out of drugs and went to a third-floor apartment at 17 William St. in Lynn with the intention of robbing the occupants of drugs and money, authorities said. Lanza broke into the apartment wearing a Halloween mask and threatened one of two women who were asleep, prosecutors said. There were also five children in the apartment.
The woman gave him money, but Lanza continued to threaten her with a knife and she screamed for help, according to prosecutors.
Paradis heard the screams and responded from his second-floor apartment to help. Police said as Lanza fled the building he stabbed Paradis twice in the chest. Paradis, 28, later died of his wounds.
In its ruling, which the Parole Board provided to Blodgett’s office Wednesday, the board said Lanza once escaped from state custody and was arrested only after committing armed robberies in Boston and Brookline. Lanza had been convicted five times of armed robbery before he murdered Paradis.
Lanza has been denied parole three times before.
“Lanza has demonstrated that he is a very dangerous person who needs to reform his character, criminal thinking, and conduct,’’ the board wrote.
According to Blodgett’s office, Paradis was posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal as a person who “voluntarily risks his or her life to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the life of another person.”
Paradis’s relatives appeared before the board and asked them to keep Lanza imprisoned, according to the board.John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.