Man convicted of killing Claremont police chief could get parole

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(ABC 6 News) – In 1993, a Minnesota law changed that took away the chance for parole for anyone who kills a peace officer.

Claremont’s police chief, Greg Lange, was murdered in 1988. Now, one of the men who killed him – could soon be released from prison. This is something the Dodge County sheriff is trying to stop.

Lange was responding to a call of a domestic assault back in 1988, where Andrew Salinas and his brother had a gun, and were threatening a woman and her five-month-old baby.

“Greg saved the life of that lady that night, and he saved the life of a 5-month-old baby that night,” said Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose.

Lange, in a final act of bravery, gave his life to protect theirs. The Salinas brothers brutally beat Lange before shooting and killing him.

The two were later convicted of murdering Lange and were sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Andrew’s brother, Robert Salinas, was convicted of aiding and abetting the murder, and was released from prison in 2007.

Fast-forward to 2023, and Andrew Salinas is up for his 4th parole hearing. Rose says it’s important to the victim’s family that Salinas stays behind bars.

“That family member was taken from them for life. And they believe that the person who took that life should get no less of a sentence,” he explained.

Salinas’s last parole hearing was just three years ago. Lange’s widow, Sue Lange, sat down with ABC 6 News in 2020 talk about how traumatizing these parole hearings are.

“He [Salinas] actually pled guilty to first-degree murder. To me, that life sentence means life sentence. I’m sentenced to life without my husband. And even now I’m sentenced to life trying to keep him in prison,” Lange said.

“You’re revictimizing these families as they go through this over and over and over again,” Rose added.

Now Sheriff Rose is asking people to send letters to the state – asking Salinas not be released. Rose says the letters can make a difference in the outcome of the hearing.

However, advocates at the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition say that parole can be an important step in an inmate’s rehabilitation and can actually help improve public safety.

“To reimagine how people can come back from their worst mistakes – it could create a better society and it could add to public safety components,” said Moncies Franco, a board member with the coalition.

Salinas’s parole hearing is set for April 11. Sheriff Rose says the deadline to send letters to the state is March 28. More information can be found here.