“Compassionate release” has been granted to a Rhode Island man who rather uncompassionately threatened to decapitate a conservative blogger on behalf of the Islamic State, FOX News is reporting.
As with many incomprehensible decisions in 2020, the move was spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. District Judge for Massachusetts William Young on Aug 13 announced the release of Nicholas Rovinski, 29, whose lawyers had argued that his medical conditions, including cerebral palsy and hypertension, make him vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19.
Rovinski had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for taking part in a plot to behead conservative pundit Pamela Geller.
“The court concludes that there exist extraordinary and compelling circumstances that warrant granting this motion for compassionate release,” Young wrote in the order.
“How does Judge William Young know that Nicholas Rovinski won’t try to murder me again? He doesn’t,” conservative blogger Pamela Gellar wrote on her Facebook page.
Rovinski release from federal prison was to have been in 2028. He was sentenced in 2017 after pleading guilty to conspiracy for plotting to kill Geller, who organized a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, in 2015 that made light of the Prophet Muhammad.
Young reduced Rovinski’s sentence to time served and ordered him to remain for the next decade in home confinement with electronic monitoring.
Young also denied prosecutors’ request to delay Rovinski’s release for 30 days while they consider an appeal. Prosecutors argued that the decision is an outcome “most would find hard to fathom under the circumstances, especially in the absence of any concrete rationale for the result.”
“We disagree with the court’s decision to now nullify that sentence – after only five years – based on COVID concerns,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement to the Associated Press.