State suspends ECI supervisor in Thanos case Suspect in 3 slayings released by mistake

October 06, 1990

The Maryland Division of Correction has suspended without pay an Eastern Correctional Institution records supervisor who signed the early-release papers for rapist and robber John F. Thanos, the former inmate subsequently charged with killing three people.

John P. O'Donnell, 50, a records supervisor at the time the release papers were signed in April who has since become a correctional officer at the Somerset County prison, was suspended -- the first step in the firing process -- Thursday pending an appeal and personnel hearing.

Sgt. Gregory M. Shipley, spokesman for the Division of Correction, would not identify the suspended "correctional employee" or say what specific charges were filed.

But Mr. O'Donnell said that after he worked his shift Thursday, Assistant Warden Kathleen S. Green informed him that he had been suspended without pay, although she would not specify the charges.

Sergeant Shipley said the charges "obviously relate" to the investigation of the release of Mr. Thanos. Elmanus Herndon, acting correction commissioner, was satisfied "that appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and that no further personnel actions are anticipated," he said.

Bishop L. Robinson, state secretary for public safety and correctional services, said last week that Mr. Thanos was released from prison early by mistake and that a new policy on calculating so-called "good-time" credits for overlapping sentences was misapplied in his case.

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