FORT EDWARD, N.Y. - It's a story of tragedy and trauma that has spanned nearly 30 years. In 1985, Kenmore West senior John Justice killed his brother and parents in their Mang Avenue home, and then killed another man by slamming his car into the back of the victim's car on Military Road in a failed suicide attempt.
Justice was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the murders of his father and brother, but convicted of second-degree murder for the deaths of his mother and Wayne Haun, the victim of the car crash. However, at a retrial, Justice was found guilty of lesser manslaughter charges and given a shorter prison sentence.
In a 2002 interview with 2 On Your Side, Justice, who was then at Wende Correctional Facility, talked about his ultimate release from prison. "I'm going before my next parole board in November, this will be my third time and probably the last time that they can recommend the maximum hold for me. I'm going home."
Justice was released on parole in September 2005. Two years later though, after problems at the Bailey Avenue half-way house where he was placed, Justice was back in state prison for violation of parole and ordered to complete the remaining eight years of his prison sentence.
He is currently locked up at the Great Meadow Correctional facility in Fort Ann where he is scheduled for release in the fall of 2015. Last year, the New York State Office of Mental Halth filed a petition under section 330.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law, to have Justice declared mentally unfit for release. The petition was filed in Erie County, but after a year of legal tug-o-war, the case has been transferred to Washington County, and will come before State Supreme Court Justice Hon. Stan Pritzker in April.
A motion for dismissal of the State's petition was filed just last week by the Mental Hygene Legal Service, which was assigned by the appellate Court to represent Justice. When contacted Wednesday, the Office of Mental Health would only say that they cannot comment on any individual due to State and Federal Law.
A source within state government did say that it is extremely unusual for an individual to be under a Criminal Procedure Law Section 330.20 order, while also serving a prison sentence. Someone under this type of order who is released from prison may be recommitted to a secure facility, civilly committed, or discharged.