RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – For 40 years, Vincent Martin was behind bars until two months ago when he was released from Nottoway Correctional Center. He was serving a life sentence for the 1979 killing of a Richmond Police Officer Michael Connors, but all while maintaining his innocence.
Exactly 60 days after being released, Martin spoke publicly at an event hosted by the Richmond Virginia Chapter of the National Action Network next to the Robert E. Lee Monument.
“For 40 years, I was incarcerated by no fault of my own. Not my choice. I was put in the system by no choice of my own,” said Martin.
Martin is using his voice to help elevate those who may not be heard.
“I stand today as a man willing to stand for justice, willing to fight for justice, willing to fight with those who are in prison and deserve a second chance,” said Martin.
His message meant to highlight some of the issues he feels exists with the Criminal Justice System.
“I have been fighting for my life since I was born into this racist society and racist system both in prison and out of prison. Now that I’m out of prison, I’m still fighting,” said Martin.
Martin claims he has been intentionally targeted by some government and law enforcement leaders. With controversy swirling over his release by the Parole Board, he believes the situation is putting his life and family in danger.
“Why target me?,” said Martin.
Back in April, we spoke with the victim’s sister, Maureen Clements, when she got the news Martin would be released. She called it shocking and heartbreaking.
“My parents have always said the only peace we really received (was) knowing this man was behind bars because he took our brother. They took our son,” said Clements.
Previously, Adrianne Bennett with the Virginia Parole Board Chair sent 8News a statement saying, “We have spent years researching this case and reviewing the facts and stand firmly behind our decision to grant his release.”
“The fact that the parole board released me shows that I was one worthy of being paroled,” said Martin.
In recent days, some GOP lawmakers have called on all current parole board members to resign. This comes as a result of a report released by the Inspector General’s Office which details what they call violations in how the parole board handled the Martin case.