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Dalton Smith won praise from parole panel before early prison release

Dalton Smith, 30, of Hempstead was identified by

Dalton Smith, 30, of Hempstead was identified by Nassau County Police as the armed gunman killed in a home invasion Friday that also resulted in the death of a Hofstra University student, Andrea Rebello, 21. Credit: Handout / NCPD

The parolee shot and killed along with a Hofstra student by a Nassau police officer was praised by a state parole panel in 2011, before his conditional release from prison, according to a transcript of the hearing.

Dalton Smith, 30, of Hempstead, was conditionally released after he completed 9 years of his 10-year sentence for armed robbery. He was praised by the panel, before his release a year early, for completing a program to help curb aggressive behavior and furthering his education, according to the transcript. He was released last May.

A spokesman for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

On Friday, Smith walked through an open door of an off-campus house in Uniondale, demanded money and jewelry, and took four hostages. He was shot and killed minutes later by a Nassau officer in a standoff, along with a 21-year-old Hofstra University student police said he had in a chokehold.

At an Aug. 30, 2011, hearing, parole board members noted that he had "done some good things" in prison, including obtaining his GED and three college credits, studying business management and finishing a program known as ART, designed to help inmates identify and control their aggressive behavior, according to the transcript.

Later, in a September decision, the panel wrote: "Your institutional programming indicates progress and achievement, which is noted to your credit. . . . The panel is encouraged by your remarkable progress to date."

The panel denied Smith discretionary parole, saying it would "not be compatible with the welfare of society at large and would tend to deprecate the seriousness of" his underlying crime -- robbing a Uniondale store and pointing a .45 revolver at two people.

The panel said Smith could only be given a conditional release if he agreed to follow more than a dozen rules, including seeking and maintaining employment, submitting to drug testing, and complying with all court orders.

He was released last May, but failed to report in July and was arrested on a parole violation. In October, an administrative law judge told him he could avoid going back to prison if he completed a 90-day drug treatment program, which he did. A parole spokesman did not return calls as to how Smith qualified for the program.

According to the transcript, Smith told the panel he wanted to be a drug counselor and work with sexually abused children.

He said while he was in prison, "I have learned one thing that I didn't know before is if you want to be a better person, if you want to change, the opportunity is there. I exercised those opportunities and . . . I know there [are] other ways to take care of myself other than committing crimes."

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