Man Behind Bars for Police Officer’s Death Wants Out Early

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WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – He was sentenced for the death of a police officer, now he’s asking for early release.

In September of 2012, Scott Leland was driving under the influence when he turned in front of a police cruiser.

Officer Jason Gresko was behind the wheel. To avoid hitting Leland, he swerved and crashed into a tree. The 32-year-old died from his injuries.

Leland was sentenced to four years for aggravated vehicular homicide and OVI. He’s been behind bars ever since, but that could change.

His attorney, Jerome Emoff, filed a petition last week for early release. In the documents related to the request, he talks about Leland’s background.

It says, “Prior to his guilty plea, Scott Leland had had no criminal history whatsoever. He was a lifetime resident of Willoughby, Ohio, and he had been gainfully employed for his entire adult life. He loved and supported his family and community, and by all accounts, he was a good and decent man.”

Lieutenant James Schultz with the Willoughby Police Department said Leland is entitled to file for a petition for early release because he’s not serving a mandatory sentence. He said while the situation is sensitive for members of the police department, they will respect whatever decision the court make.

"Our thoughts and our hearts go out to Jason's wife, Sandra, and his daughter, Olivia, and his entire family. His family is a part of our family, but we do support the court's decision in this matter,” he said.

While some are staying neutral, others are getting more vocal, like the Willoughby Police Fallen Officers Memorial page on Facebook.

They want people to write letters to Judge Gibson asking that he keep Scott Leland behind bars to finish out his sentence.

FOX 8 reached out Jason Gresko’s family and Scott Leland’s attorney for a comment.

As of Monday night, neither responded to our requests.

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