Sadly, the murder of 73-year-old Lois Decker (pictured) was entirely preventable. Her killer, Shafiqul Islam of Bangladesh, had been convicted of child sex abuse in 2008 and was supposed to be deported, but was eventually released instead:
20 to life for grandmother’s murder, Register-Star (Hudson, NY), June 27, 2012
[. . .] Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are said to have detained Islam for one year after he was convicted in 2008 of promoting a sexual performance by a child. An immigration judge in December 2008 ordered that Islam be deported to Bangladesh, but he was allowed to stay in the country and was released after a year of detainment.
“I can’t explain” why ICE officials released Islam and did not deport him, Nichols said. The judge added that the agency should look at this case and at least consider reforming the way it deports dangerous individuals from the U.S.
District Attorney Paul Czajka said after Tuesday’s sentencing that immigration officials excuse their conduct in releasing Islam due to the slow response in paperwork coming from the Bangladeshi side of the deportation transaction.
“It’s an excuse that doesn’t hold water,” Czajka said. [. . .]
If America can’t deport a convicted child sex abuser, then something is seriously wrong with the criminal justice system. A clearly dangerous foreign criminal was turned loose on the streets, and a beloved member of her community was cruelly murdered as a result.
The family’s victim statements were posted online:
Here is a report of the sentencing on Tuesday:
20 to life and no forgiveness; Victim’s daughter has strong words for killer at his sentencing, Albany Times Union, June 27, 2012
HUDSON — The daughter of a retired school cook and Elvis fan who was strangled and robbed last winter in her Columbia County home said there will be no forgiveness for the killer in this life or the next.
She was one of the relatives of Lois Decker, 73, who read victim impact statements before Shafiqul Islam, 22, was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years to life in prison.
Islam, a level 2 sex offender from a previous conviction, was sentenced by Columbia County Judge Jonathan Nichols for the Nov. 20 murder of Decker, who was called Foofie by her family.
“Murdering my innocent and kind mother is unforgivable,” said Diane Demarest of Oregon. “There is a black mark on his soul that will follow him all of his days in this life and beyond. My mother’s light cannot be extinguished by her death, not even the senseless death caused by this coward.”
Islam’s apology had a strange twist for the many family members and friends in attendance, they later said.
“He said something like, ‘She loved all of us,’” said family friend Ron Morales, whose son was cared for by Decker. “I don’t know how he knew that, but his apologies all rang hollow.”
Demarest said the violent attack on her mother, who lived alone in a neat Hillsdale home, has forever changed her and her family.
“The tragic and violent aspect of her death threatens to overwhelm the memories of our wonderful mother,” Demarest said. “For myself, I have become cautious to the point of paranoia in my own home. I have hid in another room until the person at the door went away. I feel fear every day in my house. Mr. Islam is the only person who can tell me the end of my mother’s story, but he refused to give a statement to the police.”
Authorities believe Islam followed Decker home from her regular walking trip to a nearby market.
He lived in a social services-provided apartment not far from the home in which Decker lived alone.
In May, Islam pleaded guilty to all charges in his indictment — second-degree murder and three counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.
Islam, who is from Bangladesh, is in this country illegally. He served time in prison for abusing a child in 2008 and was declared a level 2 sex offender.
After he killed Decker, Islam stole her 2006 Hyundai Accent and crashed it in Claverack. He then tried to steal a vehicle owned by one of two people who stopped at the accident scene to help.
Bystanders kept Islam from taking the second vehicle, but he ran from the scene and took a Ford pickup truck.
“I just can’t get over why he didn’t just take the car and leave her alone,” Morales said.
Decker, who always wore red lipstick, was head cook at the Roe Jan School for 20 years and was active in the community, especially with children, and attended many kids’ sporting events.
The family said Decker supported veterans organizations, taught Sunday school and volunteered at the North Hillsdale United Methodist Church nursery school.
She was a huge Elvis fan.
“She loved Elvis — I mean loved Elvis,” Demarest said during an interview after her mother’s death. “She had a mini Elvis museum in her house.”