, Salem, MA

July 29, 2013

Repeat offender denied parole

Judge's prediction proves accurate, as problems continued in prison


---- — PEABODY — Fifteen years ago, a Salem Superior Court judge made a prediction about Stephen Blaney, whom he was sentencing for the latest in a life of armed holdups and other crimes.

“It is clear Mr. Blaney will go on committing crime for as long as he is able to,” Judge Howard Whitehead said in 1998, just before sentencing Blaney, who has a record dating to 1961, to a life term for the armed holdup of Tremont Pharmacy in Peabody.

The judge’s remarks were prescient. While in custody, Blaney has forged letters purporting to be from the district attorney’s office, the governor and the Parole Board, authorizing his release from prison, according to officials. He’s also tried to apply for Social Security benefits and for financial assistance from charitable organizations, in some cases using the names of other inmates, officials say.

So, when Blaney, now 70, applied for parole last month, it didn’t take long for the Parole Board to reject his request.

In a decision issued earlier this month, the board unanimously found that Blaney, originally from Lynn, “has made no effort to reform his criminal thinking and behavior” and would almost certainly offend again if released.

By the time Blaney walked into Tremont Pharmacy carrying a toy handgun painted black to look more realistic, then fled and hid in the bulkhead of a nearby home, he’d already racked up four prior armed robbery convictions and a long list other crimes, including convictions for rape and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a result of his inviting teenage boys to his home to consume alcohol in 1992. He has been charged in nearly 60 different cases.

During his current prison term, Blaney has amassed a record of 88 disciplinary reports, including the forgery allegations. Blaney, prosecutors say, went to elaborate lengths to obtain official stationery from those agencies, then altered the original correspondence to make his claims that he was supposed to be released.

According to a letter in opposition to parole submitted by the Essex District Attorney’s office, Blaney has also repeatedly threatened fellow inmates, tried to steal their identities and frequently uses the contents of his colostomy bag to harass staff.

Blaney denied many of the allegations but admitted writing to Social Security, claiming afterward, “I didn’t know I couldn’t get Social Security in prison.”

Blaney, who is serving his time at Bridgewater State Hospital, won’t be allowed to seek parole again for five years.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.