Fayette deputy Angelucci's killer is denied parole

William Bennett
William Bennett

William Bennett, the man convicted of killing Fayette County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Angelucci 23 years ago, will remain in prison.

The Kentucky Parole Board unanimously decided Monday not to grant an early medical parole for Bennett, who is seriously ill.

The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet had asked the board to review Bennett's case because he meets state statutory requirements for an early medical parole.

Monday's decision means that Bennett, 56, would next be scheduled to go before the parole board in 2016.

Angelucci was shot on Nov. 4, 1988, as he was transporting Bennett to a mental-health treatment center. Bennett seized Angelucci's handgun and pulled the trigger. Angelucci died about three weeks later.

A circuit court jury found that Bennett was guilty of murder, but mentally ill, and recommended a sentence of no more than 120 years in prison. That was the sentence the court imposed.

Witnesses testified during the trial that Bennett had a history of mental problems dating back to childhood, at times imagining himself to be a nuclear scientist or a twin of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Angelucci's father, former Fayette Circuit Judge Armand Angelucci, said Monday that he was pleased with the parole board's decision, which he said had upheld the original jury verdict.

"We are very happy that the parole board denied parole for William Bennett and honored the verdict of the jury," Angelucci said. "The criminal justice system has worked. We are not only pleased for Joe, our son, but pleased for all police officers who put their lives on the line every day. All along, we have believed that convicted murderers belong in jail, and juries' verdicts should be honored."

Angelucci said the jurors clearly had intended for Bennett to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Monday's parole hearing was unusual in that there was no public session. Because of his illness, Bennett did not appear before the parole board to answer questions. The panel deliberated the case in closed session, which is customary, before reaching its decision.

During a hearing before the parole board last week, Angelucci suggested that if Bennett received a parole and recovered from his current illness, he might kill again. Other Angelucci family members, police representatives and various officials, including Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson, also urged the board not to grant a parole.

Angelucci said Monday that he wanted to thank all of those who had supported the family.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader