NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A judge is allowing an 80-year-old Connecticut man who helped his son flee to Mexico after he was convicted of murder to have contact with him in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton on Friday granted a request by Frederick Zachs to write or visit his son, Adam, who is serving a 60-year sentence.
Frederick Zachs served a six-month prison sentence for helping his son flee and sending him money. He was barred from contacting him for three years.
Prosecutors had objected to his request, saying Frederick Zachs helped a convicted murderer escape justice for more than 20 years, and called his sentence ‘‘fair and reasonable.’’
Arterton noted Zachs is elderly and in poor health and says the no-contact condition serves no purpose now.
Adam Zachs was convicted in the 1987 shooting death of Peter Carone. He posted bond after sentencing, missed a court date in 1989 and wasn’t seen by authorities until the week of his capture in 2011 in Mexico.
Prosecutors said Frederick Zachs deprived the victim’s family of knowing that their loved one’s killer would be held accountable. They said Zachs received letters from his son, spoke to him on the phone and met his children.
Prosecutors said it was important to deter other parents who might be tempted to do the same thing.
Arterton wrote that Frederick Zachs has completed his sentence, paid his fine and complied with his conditions of release.
‘‘While defendant’s pain at the prospect of never again having any direct contact with his son pales in comparison to the pain of Peter Carone’s family at the certainty of never again having contact with their murdered son, to the extent that families of victims find some closure in the punishment meted out, that has largely occurred,’’ Arterton wrote. ‘‘Adam Zachs was apprehended and is serving what is in effect a likely life sentence.’’
Arterton wrote that the reason for the no contact rule is to deter those released from prison from the risk or temptation of reverting to criminal activity.
‘‘Under the circumstances of this case, the purpose is no longer served because defendant’s son is incarcerated, where his mail is screened and where the Connecticut Department of Corrections controls which visitors are permitted for monitored visits and under what conditions,’’ Arterton wrote.
Arterton ruled Zachs may have contact with his son on terms set by prison officials.