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Shutdown Opens Window into Controversial Parole Dispute

By Kevin Johnson
USA Today

WASHINGTON — It is a casualty of the government shutdown that few are lamenting.

Among dozens of hearings postponed in the past two weeks by the U.S. Parole Commission, was this week’s scheduled consideration of Augustin Alvarez whose fatal shooting of a young Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent in Miami rocked federal law enforcement.

More than 30 years after Alvarez killed Ariel Rios during an undercover drug investigation, the murderer’s status hearing had generated opposition from current agents and former colleagues, including Rios’ partner who was gravely wounded in the same shootout.

“I was there when a bullet entered Ariel’s face and I saw the same bullet protruding from the back of his skull,” retired agent Alex D’Atri said in a letter to the parole commission. “This type of sadistic shooting to his face was meant to kill.”

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