GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) – A man doing a 45-year term in state prison for a variety of crimes in several counties – including second-degree murder – could be released from prison on parole.
The North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, which has the power to release some inmates convicted of crimes that occurred before October 1994, wants to know whether it should grant parole to Lawrence C. Coleman, who is nearing the end of a 45-year sentence for second-degree murder.
North Carolina abolished parole in cases involving murder and rape as of Oct. 1, 1994, and the commission is charged with considering the parole of offenders who were sentenced under guidelines before that date. The commission sometimes seeks public comment on whether that parole should be granted.
Coleman, now 65, was convicted on Feb. 4, 1985, in Davie County Superior Court for second-degree murder from May 1984 and sentenced to 45 years in prison. But his record doesn’t end there, and it’s complicated.
There also was a 40-year term for robbery with a dangerous weapon and a 10-year consecutive sentence for larceny of more than $200 for that same event in 1985.
But Coleman’s record includes more charges after that, and there’s little to no information posted publicly. We only can go on the notations entered in the Department of Correction’s database.
For instance, Coleman served the armed robbery and larceny terms from Davie County first, and records show that he only started his 45-year murder term in October of 2006. There also are additional convictions after 1985 that would appear to have occurred during the time he was in custody.
Coleman was convicted in September 1993 in Randolph County Superior Court for resisting arrest and given a 6-month sentence to be served consecutively with the murder sentence, and in March 2015 he was convicted in Forsyth County of larceny more than $1000 and obtaining property under false pretenses, which led to another 18 months to be served concurrently with his existing sentences.
As it stands, with all of those consolidated sentences, he would be eligible for release from the murder charge in November of 2026 and from the 1993 resisting charge in Randolph County in January 2027.
The parole commission, though, is only obligated to consider the cases before 1994, which leaves the murder charge as the principal offense. Coleman could be paroled on the charge from 1993 because it was not one of the crimes excluded from consideration.
Although we don’t know much about the circumstances surrounding those convictions, we can tell you that Coleman’s record of crimes goes back to his teenage years.
Coleman served 11 months of a 2-year sentence in Forsyth County in 1982 for felony possession and sale of narcotics.
He also served about 2 years of an 8-year sentence for breaking and entering and larceny conviction and violation of substance control laws, another felony, in April 1974 in Forsyth County, when he was nearly 17 years old.
The parole commission didn’t set a date for completing its investigation, but it said in a release that information gathered from talking to persons involved would be used in its decision. Once that decision was made, there would be an announcement within 10 days.
Many of those paroled were done so under the commission’s Mutual Agreement Parole Program, a “scholastic and vocational program” that is a 3-way agreement among the commission, the Division of Prisons and the offender that requires an inmate to display a desire to improve educational and training programs and a self-improvement process. There is a 3-year walk-up to release that, the MAPP website states, requires the inmate:
- To be in medium or minimum custody.
- Not to be subject to a detainer or pending court action that could result in further confinement.
- To be infraction-free for a period of 90 days before being recommended.
It’s unclear whether Coleman would qualify under that program. He most recently has been housed at the Greene Correctional Institute in Maury, and he has recorded 29 infractions.
Almost all of them were from 2001 and earlier, but he had two in 2018 – for weapon possession and for possessing excess stamps – and two in 2020 and ’21 for profane language and disobeying an order.
The commission is required to review all offenders eligible for parole on an annual basis. If you have questions, you can call 919-716–3010.