I have spoken with Lillian Principe, whose son, Joe Principe, was the subject of yesterday's blog "Breaking News: Joe Principe's Standoff With the Cops Ends Badly;" a former correctional officer at Florence's supermax penitentiary, Joe was subsequently indicted as part of a conspiracy case against the Aryan Brotherhood that I wrote about in "Bringing Down the Brotherhood," a 2005 feature. Lillian was in Florida when Joe got into a lengthy standoff with police in the Bronx that began earlier this week. She says Joe did not threaten anyone and was not armed. He wrapped himself in an air mattress and jumped from an attic window after police forced their way into his house, hitting his head on impact. "He has a bunch of fractures," she reports, but police are apparently questioning him in his hospital bed anyway.
Over the past few days, Lillian received strange e-mails from her son, just as a CBS producer I'd introduced him to had. But she believes police overreacted when he refused to leave the house. "He didn't threaten anybody except himself," she says. "He didn't break the law."
She is bracing for the fact that her son will probably have to do more time for breaking his parole; she wishes he could receive mental health treatment instead. "He was doing fine until the federal parole officer showed up," she says. "I want my son back." -- Alan Prendergast