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Southeastern Massachusetts man convicted of murdering 22-year-old with baseball bat to be granted parole with conditions



The Massachusetts Parole Board has granted parole to a southeastern Massachusetts man who was previously convicted of murdering a 22-year-old man.

According to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, on February 21, 1994, then 17-year-old Steven James and several of his friends were in a parking lot of a sandwich shop in Rockland. Some distance away, an argument began between the victim, Edward Sullivan, and one of James’s friends. Sullivan took a baseball bat out of his van and used it to fend off James’s friend, but did not actually swing it. The friend then called to James who, with several of their other friends, ran toward them and began taunting Sullivan. During this encounter, Sullivan, who was pushed to the ground, dropped the bat and lay motionless on his stomach as people repeatedly hit and kicked him. Throughout the beating, Sullivan pleaded with them to stop and made no attempt to fight back. James picked up the bat and swung it three times at Sullivan’s head. Sullivan was taken to a hospital, where he died two days later as a result of head injuries.

On April 11, 1995, after a jury trial in Plymouth Superior Court, James was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole due to being under 18-years-old. On the same date, James was convicted of Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon and received a concurrent sentence of eight to ten years, and three counts of Assault and Battery, for which he received concurrent sentences of two and one-half years.

James appeared for a parole review hearing on August 23, 2022, after being denied parole after his initial hearing in 2019. During that hearing, the Board concluded that James was a suitable candidate for parole. The Board made the announcement this week.

The Board noted that James had a difficult childhood during which he was sexually assaulted and exposed to substance abuse. He suffered physical abuse and was eventually placed in foster care. As a child and adolescent, James was repeatedly violent with others which caused him to be removed from school at various stages. The Board stated that James’ institutional adjustment has improved and has committed to positive programming and rehabilitative involvement in the institution.

The factors considered by the Board in James’ case included the offender’s “lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility, leading to recklessness, impulsivity, and heedless risk-taking; vulnerability to negative influences and outside pressures, including from their family and peers; limited control over their own environment; lack of the ability to extricate themselves from horrific, crime-producing settings; and unique capacity to change as they grow older.”

The Board stated that they took into consideration James’ institutional behavior, as well as his participation in available work, educational, and treatment programs during the period of his incarceration. The Board also considered a risk and needs assessment and whether risk reduction programs could effectively minimize James’ risk of recidivism.

Among the special conditions of James’ parole includes him being sent to a long-term residential program after spending 18 months in lower security. He must also have a curfew at PO’s discretion; ELMO-electronic monitoring; Supervise for drugs, testing in accordance with agency policy; Supervise for liquor abstinence, testing in accordance with agency policy; Report to assigned MA Parole Office on day of release; No contact with victim’s family; Must have mental health evaluation and follow recommended treatment; Must have substance abuse evaluation and follow recommended treatment; Counseling for adjustment/transition.



  1. MortisMaximus

    December 10, 2022 at 3:15 pm

    WTF is going on in Massachusetts with parole being granted to all of these convicted violent felons? This guy is a cold-blooded murderer.

    • Slugger

      December 10, 2022 at 9:44 pm

      Let the family members all take 3 swings at his head, if he survives then he can have his parole..

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