A Missouri man who killed a Westchester County police officer with his own gun 46 years ago is set to be paroled despite efforts to keep him behind bars.
Anthony Blanks, 69, could leave Sing Sing as early as Oct. 18 after completing a community rehabilitation program, the state Department of Correction and Community Supervision said.
Blanks was convicted of first-degree murder and criminal firearms possession after killing Larchmont officer Arthur DeMatte with his own service gun in 1976.
The 20-year-old police veteran had attempted to remove blanks from the New Haven Railroad tracks after receiving a call from someone disrupting trains.
Blanks approached DeMatte, grabbed his gun, and ran away, but shot the officer in the chest just as the officer began chasing the criminal.
Blanks, who walked from New York City to Westchester Town after arriving there a few days earlier in search of a job from St. Louis, left the empty service pistol in the police car and hid in nearby bushes, lohud.com reported . He was shot in the leg and arrested by responding officers.
The passenger later said he had not eaten for two days and was high from PCP at the time of the murder.
Blanks was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was eligible for parole in 2001 but remained behind bars for an additional 21 years, likely due to strong opposition from DeMatte’s surviving family and the Larchmont Police Union.
Larchmont’s PBA president, Officer Dan Calapai, told Lohud that Blanks’ release from prison could be a result of the state’s switch from holding parole hearings every nine months, instead of the traditional two years. More frequent hearings made it more difficult for people defying parole to voice their concerns in a timely manner, he said.
“Our feeling is definitely that this is politically driven and is failing the victims’ families,” Calapai said.
Clifford Jackson, a Larchmont man who began corresponding with Blanks three years ago, wrote to the parole board to support Blanks’ release, claiming that the cop killer was no longer a “menace to society.”
“[Police]were looking for him to rot in prison…that this is a punitive action designed to destroy the person, no matter the circumstances,” Jackson said. “He’s not a threat. He will fight to survive. He will have a hard time getting out of bed.”
Jackson argued that while Blanks is not acquitted of the crime, he has paid his debts and shown remorse. The aging criminal is in poor health, he said.
Transcripts of Blank’s parole interviews in recent years obtained from Lohud show he has no secured housing and limited family support.
https://nypost.com/2022/10/02/westchester-cop-killer-anthony-blanks-to-be-paroled-46-years-after-murder-of-officer-arthur-dematte/ Westchester cop killer Anthony Blanks is set to be paroled 46 years after the murder of Officer Arthur DeMatte