Vincent Harris sat in his Schenectady living room in April and recounted to The Daily Gazette the commitment he had made to the parole board to be a better person and give back to society.
Harris had been paroled in September after 37 years spent in state prison for the 1973 killing of a man in Rensselaer County.
Now, according to authorities, he appears to be headed back to prison. Harris was arrested Thursday on charges of burglary and reckless endangerment.
Harris, 60, and another ex-convict identified as David M. Kadio, 38, of Albany, were arrested Thursday after a joint investigation by state and Albany police into residential burglaries in the region, according to a state police news release.
An Albany police spokesman Friday referred comment to the state police, who could not be reached.
In Schenectady, where Harris had lived for at least four months, Assistant Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said he was aware of the larger investigation, but said Harris did not appear to be a suspect in any Schenectady break-ins. Kilcullen did say he understood authorities were trying to match stolen goods to their owners.
Police gave the following account of the arrest:
Harris and Kadio were placed under surveillance after they emerged as suspects.
On Thursday, the men were spotted breaking into a residence on Kingman Road in Schodack Landing. Kadio was inside, while Harris waited outside with a vehicle. Just before noon, investigators and detectives closed in. Kadio fled the scene and was picked up by Harris in his vehicle. Police quickly blocked the road and said Harris almost ran them over. Harris and Kadio got past police but were found a short time later in the vehicle behind a business.
Harris was arrested at the scene, while Kadio fled on foot and was arrested a short time later in a wooded area off Route 9.
Both men were charged with second-degree burglary. Harris was also charged with first-degree reckless endangerment for allegedly trying to run down an investigator.
The new charges, and even the association with Kadio, could have Harris headed back to prison, possibly for the rest of his life.
Harris had spent 37 years in state prison on a sentence of 25 years to life. He was arrested and convicted in Rensselaer County of the Oct. 29, 1973 killing of Robert Cirilli. Harris shot Cirilli three times, in the back, neck and throat, according to newspaper accounts.
Last September Harris won parole. With that parole came the prospect that any violation could send him back to prison, possibly to serve the rest of his sentence. Even associating with Kadio, much less committing new crimes with him, would be enough to constitute a violation of that parole.
Kadio has a long history of prison time, records show. Most recently, he spent one to four years in state prison for leaving the scene of serious accident in Albany. He struck a man in Albany’s Washington Park and fled. The victim suffered life-threatening injuries.
In 1993, Kadio pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in Schenectady County and was sentenced to five to 10 years. In that case, Kadio admitted to breaking into a Niskayuna house on Troy Road in August 1992, Gazette records show.
Parole spokeswoman Carole Weaver said a parole hearing for Harris was expected in the near future.
While in prison, Harris learned to paint. He has donated his paintings on canvas to art shows and elsewhere, with the money raised going to charitable causes, including some that help victims of crime. Many of them also hung on his living room wall.
His efforts to educate himself and learn a skill while in prison have been documented in The Gazette and elsewhere. In an interview with The Gazette, Harris spoke emotionally about reconnecting with his family. Each granddaughter, he said, provided a new reason for him to remain out of prison and obey the law.
“My goal is not to go backwards, and go back to prison,” Harris told The Daily Gazette in April. “My goal is to have a life, what I lost. I lost so much going to prison.
“I lost the beauty of seeing my grandkids born, to see them go to school. I lost the beauty of seeing my daughter going to school. … and I’m not going to lose that now.”