RI man serving 660-year sentence denied compassionate release

By | October 20, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island man serving a 660-year prison sentence for laundering millions of dollars for a Colombian drug cartel was denied compassionate release on Monday by a federal judge who said he had failed to show he was at an increased risk of severe complications from the coronavirus.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lisi found that Stephen Saccoccia had not demonstrated “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances that required he be freed, The Providence Journal reported.

Saccoccia, 62, a former Cranston precious metals dealer, argued for release because he is a nonviolent offender and has several medical conditions.

Saccoccia is being held at Coleman federal prison in Florida, which his attorney called a “hotbed” of COVID-19 cases.

“It equates to a life sentence for Mr. Saccoccia and with the COVID risk, we can only hope it is not a death sentence for him,” attorney Lisa Holley said.

Federal prosecutors in their opposition to Saccoccia’s release said he failed to show the existence of any medical condition that would place him at a heightened risk. They also cited a prison disciplinary record that includes bribing an officer for tobacco, possessing wine in his cell, and abusing phone privileges.

Saccoccia was convicted in 1993. His wife, Donna Saccoccia, was convicted and sentenced to serve 14 years in prison. She was released in 2004.

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