19 Years in Jail, Then a Death Wish

A strange life comes to an end. Eric van Reid spent the last 19 years in prison for rape and burglary charges and, after five rejections, finally made parole last November. Just five months later, he was dead. Parole officers killed van Reid yesterday after he held another officer hostage with a steak knife. One witness describes the scene in the office: “It was crazy. Everybody was running.” When he was a teenager, van Reid served time for robbing a 71-year-old woman in her home. He later shot a police officer in the stomach and escaped from Rikers Island before being captured again. His longest sentence came in 1987 after raping a woman and burglarizing her home.