ItHome Hypertension Judge approves shift from prison to house arrest for senior bank robber with hypertension and Covid-19

Judge approves shift from prison to house arrest for senior bank robber with hypertension and Covid-19

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A federal judge today approved a request from Joseph Rachal, serving an 8 1/2-year sentence for robbing a Brighton Center bank at gunpoint to be allowed to finish the last 31 months of his sentence at home because he has tested positive for Covid-19 and because he is 68 and has high blood pressure, which could put him at extra risk of death should his condition worsen.

Rachal, an Everett resident with a criminal record dating to his teens, was convicted of robbing the TD Bank branch at 391 Market St. on Nov. 19, 2015. Police say Rachal was well equipped: A white man, he wore a rubber mask that made him appear to be black and he had a portable police scanner with which to monitor the police response. He walked out with $2,397, but police quickly found him nearby, hiding behind an SUV.

In his decision today, US District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton said Rachal was a perfect candidate for compassionate release from a federal prison, where roughly half the inmates have now tested positive for Covid-19, because of his age and medical condition and because he has served roughly 60% of his sentence.

He noted Rachal’s violent past – he was convicted of manslaughter as a 17-year-old, but said Rachal had stopped committing violent crimes more than 40 years ago and that until he was injured in a work accident and became addicted to opioids, he had held steady jobs, raised a family and bought a house. And he noted the conditions that Rachal will have to follow, including wearing and paying for a GPS device for his first six months and enrolling in a substance-abuse counseling program. Also: No guns and no alcohol.

Gorton added:

The defendant is forewarned that the Court will have no tolerance for the violation of any conditions of his supervised release.

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