Metro

No parole for ex-gang member who committed Holyoke slaying at 16 with sawed-off shotgun

A former gang member who committed murder as a 16-year-old in Holyoke recently had his second bid for parole denied, and officials urged him to “refrain from engaging in antisocial behavior” and get treatment before he tries again to win his freedom in a few years, records show.

The Parole Board ruling that denied release to Jean Almodovar, now 35, was issued July 9. He pleaded guilty in 2000 to second-degree murder in connection with the 1999 slaying of 21-year-old Alexander Rosa.

According to the ruling, Almodovar and his uncle, Kelvin Gutierrez, then 18, killed Rosa on the night of Oct. 26, 1999, on orders from their gang’s leader, who directed them to murder Rosa on sight. The gang had wrongly suspected Rosa of supplying a weapon used to kill one of their members, the ruling said.

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Almodovar told the board during his parole hearing last year that Gutierrez shot Rosa several times with a handgun. After Rosa fled a short distance and collapsed, Almodovar opened fire with a sawed-off shotgun.

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“Mr. Almodovar could not explain why he felt the need to shoot Mr. Rosa, after he had already been shot and lay dying on the sidewalk,” the ruling said.

Almodovar did, however, tell the panel about his difficult childhood and his efforts to change behind bars. He said he was placed into foster care at age 6 and was an “emotional wreck” as a youngster, the document said.

“Mr. Almodovar discussed how he was arrested at age 11, and charged with assault and battery and indecent assault on a child, after he and a friend attacked one of their classmates,” the ruling said. “Mr. Almodovar was adjudicated delinquent of assault and battery, which resulted in a commitment to the Department of Youth Services.” The indecent assault count was dropped.

He also discussed his gang involvement.

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“Mr. Almodovar. . . said that he had joined a Holyoke gang at 12-years-old that helped meet his emotional needs, as he had family members in positions of power,” the ruling said.

In addition, Almodovar acknowledged that he was previously affiliated with a “security threat group” while incarcerated in maximum security, but he noted that his classification has improved, according to the ruling.

“Mr. Almodovar reported that he has since completed the renunciation process and is no longer associated with a security threat group,” the document said. “He pointed out that he has stepped down to medium security and. . . is qualified to step down to lower security.”

He has also obtained his GED, OSHA certificate, computer certificate, and welder’s license, the ruling said. He hopes to find work in a welder’s union if he is ever freed.

“Additionally, Mr. Almodovar informed the Board that he completed the Correctional Recovery Academy, the Graduate Maintenance Program and General Population Maintenance Program,” the ruling said. “He attends monthly ex-offender meetings through the Massachusetts Community Outreach Initiative, a Hispanic Heritage Group, and is in his third semester of Project Youth.”

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But board members decided he has more work to do before they sign off on his release.

The panel found that he “has not demonstrated a level of rehabilitative progress that would make his release compatible with the welfare of society,” the ruling said. “He should avail himself of relevant treatment and programming and refrain from engaging in antisocial behavior. . . . Mr. Almodovar’s next appearance before the Board will take place in three years from the date of this hearing. During the interim, the Board encourages Mr. Almodovar to continue working towards his full rehabilitation.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.