A judge today spared James F. Bradley, 77, further prison time for the only murder of an on-duty Internal Revenue Service agent in government history.
State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti told the seemingly repentant Bradley, who has been hospitalized for the past year, that he was taking into account Bradley's worsening "physical incapacities" and the time he has spent in custody in not reimposing a 20-year prison term on him.
Bradley, a former IRS agent, has spent 13 1/2 years in custody since he fatally shot agent Michael J. Dillon, 61, of Batavia three times during a confrontation in the kitchen of Bradley's Cheektowaga home on Sept. 23, 1983.
Rossetti ordered Bradley to begin making a total of $5,000 in reparation payments beginning in June to Evelyn Dillon, the victim's widow. As Bradley left the courtroom, he said, "Well, I'm glad to be alive."
Paperwork began today that should free Bradley by this evening.
Inside the courtroom, Mrs. Dillon asked the judge to reimpose the 20-year term Bradley got 12 years ago for what she called his "cowardly act."
But Mrs. Dillon also told the judge she would agree to his considering a lesser sentence if Bradley "expressed sincere remorse" for the slaying.
Bradley told the judge he feels remorse for Mrs. Dillon.
Bradley also contended "Uncle Sam made me" a killer in World War II and that Dillon "wasn't even in the picture" when he shot him.
Bradley suggested to the judge that the killing of Dillon was his way of getting back at the IRS, which he said had "persecuted him" for leaving government service in a pay dispute decades ago.
Outside the courtroom, Mrs. Dillon declined to comment, and Bradley's attorney, Terrence M. Connors, and Bradley's son, Kevin, said Bradley will live with his son and his family in North Carolina and see some of his six grandchildren for the first time.
On March 6, Bradley pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter after months of plea talks with the Erie County district attorney's office.
Originally indicted on murder in the case and convicted of first-degree manslaughter in a 1985 Buffalo jury trial, Bradley saw his conviction and 6 2/3 -to-20-year prison term overturned last year on legal technicalities.
Dillon was killed in Bradley's South Huxley Drive home while pressing him, under orders from superiors, to surrender a family car to cover the remaining $332 debt on a $2,000 tax lien he had been repaying over two years.