Blanton endorsed by prison staffer involved in dispute

October 20, 1990|By C. Fraser Smith

John P. O'Donnell, the prison employee who was suspended and reinstated after the release of John F. Thanos, made a political commercial yesterday for Edward L. Blanton Jr., the Republican candidate for attorney general.

"I'm John O'Donnell and I'm a scapegoat," Mr. O'Donnell says as the radio advertisement begins.

Last April, he says, "a felon [Thanos] was released from prison for good behavior. But he never should have been released."

Thanos was charged last month with committing three murders and a number of other crimes while he was free.

Mr. O'Donnell, 50, was suspended without pay Oct. 4 for unspecified reasons involving the early release of Thanos. Last Wednesday, however, a state hearing officer ordered that he be allowed to return to work. The state could appeal the hearing officer's ruling.

A clerk at the Eastern Correctional Institution, Mr. O'Donnell argues that Thanos was freed under a "faulty policy and judgment of [Attorney General J. Joseph Curran's] office and the department of corrections." Mr. Blanton has been making the same charge.

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