The board voted 8-6 Thursday to free Joseph Bigsby, who was serving a sentence of 100 to 200 years in prison for the 1973 murder of Chicago Police Officer Edward L. Barron.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy called the decision a “travesty.” The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation said the decision was “disappointing.”
“I appreciate their strong feelings,” Suffredin said Friday. “But he served 42-plus years. That’s not a slap on the hand.”
Suffredin has a personal stake in Bigsby’s case: He was the lead public defender at his trial in 1975. The other public defender was John Cullerton, now the president of the Illinois Senate.
Over the years, Suffredin has attended parole hearings for Bigsby at Danville Correctional Center, where Bigsby was imprisoned, although he didn’t attend Thursday’s hearing, which was packed by dozens of cops  objecting to Bigsby’s release.
Suffredin said he watched Bigsby — who was 16 when he killed Barron on Sept. 28, 1973 — grow from an immature teenager to a grown man who took responsibility for his terrible crime.
In prison, Bigsby, 58, trained as a carpenter and electrician. He was a few hours shy of receiving a bachelor’s degree, Suffredin said.
Prison officials “told me he was kind of a mentor who they would put with young people when they came in to teach them how to adjust to the penitentiary and not screw up,” Suffredin said.
“He’d really become one of the most impressive inmates in the Illinois system.”
The board found Bigsby had rehabilitated himself in prison and released him despite the protests of Barron’s former partner and organizations such as the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and the Fraternal Order of Police.
I really don't care if this black thug was a model prisoner and almost got a worthless degree, he is still a thug.
This is why the death penalty is important- thugs like this would not have been released- they would be dead- either executed or die in prison.
This is a slap in the face of cops everywhere.
Thank you FIBs, you jerks.