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Medical Parolee Dies In Jamaica Plain Prison Hospital

The Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

A man convicted of killing a police officer in the 1970s has died — three months after he was granted medical parole.

Edgar Bowser, 62, died at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital Correctional Unit Friday night. Although he was granted medical parole, his release plan was never officially approved and he remained in a prison hospital.

Bowser has been incarcerated since his conviction for the 1975 murder of Shrewsbury police officer James Lonchiadis. Bowser was 16 years old at the time of the murder and was convicted on second degree murder charges.

Bowser was granted medical parole on February 8 — after contracting COVID 19. He was also being treated for cancer. His attorney, Rebecca Rose, had requested that Bowser be transferred to the care of his family and his doctors at Boston Medical Center (BMC).

"He never walked again after he was intubated," Rose said. " He never got off oxygen after contracting the virus. I had hoped that he would be able to go to BMC where he would at least get better care at the end of his life."

Lonchiadis's family, Shrewsbury police and the Worcester County District Attorney opposed Bowser's release, citing the violent nature of his crime.

Massachusetts medical parole law went into effect with passage of the 2018 Criminal Justice Reform Act. It allows for those incarcerated to seek medical parole if they are terminally ill or permanently incapacitated and do not pose a public safety risk. The actual implementation of the law has been modified after legal challenges and some legal battles continue over the law. A bill is pending before state lawmakers that would exempt those convicted of first degree murder from qualifying for medical parole.

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Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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