Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff
A 47-year-old convicted murderer who was released from prison in September was ordered held on $1 million cash bail this morning after his arraignment on charges that he was one of two men who robbed a taxi company at gunpoint Monday morning in Boston's Fenway area
Victim Max Fishman
Gerald M. Hill faces a variety of charges, including armed robbery while masked and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, in the heist at the the Boston Cab dispatch office on Kilmarnock street in the Fenway.
Hill's criminal record includes a manslaughter conviction in a 1977 stabbing and a second-degree murder conviction for the slaying of Max Fishman, a Randolph oil delivery man making emergency deliveries during the Blizzard of 1978, prosecutors said. He had been released on parole on Sept. 3, according to the state Department of Correction.
"His family says he worked too hard to get home for him to be involved in anything like this. Ö They said he was living with his mother, trying to adjust to life on the outside as best that he could under the circumstances," said Hill's lawyer, Gregory St. Cyr.
Hill pleaded not guilty in Boston Municipal Court before Judge Sally Kelly. A second suspect, who partially covered his face during the robbery as Hill allegedly did, remains at large.
Prosecutor Mark Hallal said the two men stormed into the taxi company, forcing the employees into another room at gunpoint, and pistol-whipping one. They stuffed cash into bags. Their getaway almost fizzled at the start when they found the getaway car blocked by a truck, but they ordered the truck driver at gunpoint to move his vehicle.
The two men later abandoned the car, but Hill was spotted climbing into a taxi on Boylston Street and an officer stopped the cab at Charlesgate East. Hill allegedly pulled out a gun and confronted officers. But he eventually dropped the weapon. Police recovered two loaded pistols and $25,000 in cash, Hallal said.
Hill had been imprisoned for most of his adult life. At the time of his release, Hill was being housed at the Boston Pre-Release Center, which is located in Roslindale, according to the Department of Correction website.
It was not immediately clear what led the state Parole Board to release Hill, who has waged several unsuccessful legal attempts to overturn his conviction, including a handwritten request filed in US District Court in 2004.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, said the district attorney's office repeatedly opposed Hill's requests for parole in recent years.
Donald Shapiro, the husband of Fishmanís daughter, Sandra, said the couple and other relatives went to each of Hillís seven hearings before the Parole Board from 1993 to 2006 and implored officials not to parole him.
"We felt he hadn't been rehabilitated," said Shapiro, a 63-year-old real estate agent who lives out of state. "He always came across as though he was the victim in this crime."
In a 4-2 vote, the board granted Hill parole in 2006, but he wasnít released until September because state officials said Hill had to demonstrate he was fit to be released by spending more time in progressively less secure prisons, Shapiro said.
When Shapiro learned this morning of Hillís arrest, he said, he was shocked but relieved that the former inmate had not been charged with killing someone. The arrest vindicates their view "these last 16 years that this is a person who does not deserve to be on the streets," he said.
In 2008, Hill asked the Parole Board to accelerate his release, a request the board unanimously rejected, leaving intact the 2006 ruling.
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