Ex-soup kitchen coordinator out of prison
NORTHAMPTON — After serving a year in prison for a parole violation, Donald Perry was released Thursday, according to his attorney, Luke Ryan of Northampton.
Perry, a former coordinator at the Not Bread Alone soup kitchen in Amherst, was facing a life sentence after being found in violation of his parole on a 1983 armed robbery conviction.
In July 2012 Perry was acquitted on charges of receiving stolen property, but the Parole Board found him in violation of his parole and ordered him back to prison, saying it suspected Perry withheld information at his trial. The Parole Board ruled in October that Perry would be reparoled this month.
A “welcome-home party” for Perry is planned for Friday at Ryan’s office, where Perry is expected to thank his supporters.
Those supporters were instrumental in convincing the Parole Board to place him back on parole after serving one year rather than serve his original life sentence.
About 30 people attended Perry’s parole hearing last year. Four spoke in his defense and a petition of support for his release that contained 142,000 signatures was presented, according to the Parole Board.
In a statement issued by Perry at the time of the Parole Board’s decision in October, he said, “I am relieved to finally have a decision and am grateful for the opportunity to be reparoled. I look forward to beginning this new chapter in my life.”
“I am eternally grateful for all the people who have stood by me and my partner, Elaine Arsenault, during this ordeal. We look forward to having the chance to speak about the experience upon my release in March,” Perry said.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.