35 Years Later, Elderly Inmate Is Still Paying for Wounding Cop


New York Times columnist Jim Dwyer profiles Mohaman G. Koti, a convict in his mid-80s who was denied parole for the sixth time earlier this year after spending 35 years in prison for the attempted murder of a city cop in an incident that began with a traffic stop over an inspection sticker. Though elderly, Koti does not make the list of the 10 oldest prisoners in New York State. The state has 2,133 prisoners over the age of 60, About half are doing life without parole.

Offered a sentence of 7 1/2 to 15 years, he turned it down because he thought he could beat the charges at trial. That strategy failed. He arrived in state prison in 1978 to serve a sentence of 25 years to life. For prisoners over age 60, the rate of recidivism is about 1 percent. Koti, who was rated by parole investigators at a low risk to commit another crime, was turned down for release by a 2-to-1 vote. Why? The board said he had a history of violence, was at risk to commit another crime, and letting him go would create disrespect for the law.

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