Victim: Catherine Pauley Haynes, 66
Age at time of murder: 14 & 11 months
Crime location: Waterloo
Crime date: June 15, 1993
Crimes: Home invasion, murder, & robbery
Weapon: Kitchen knife
Murder method: Stabbing 23 times and beating
Convictions: First-degree murder
Sentence: Life without parole (LWOP) later changed to life with parole
Incarceration status: Granted work release
When Veal was nearly 15, she invaded the home of the retired University of Northern Iowa librarian Catherine Haynes. Veal, who already had a long and violent criminal history, brutally attacked Catherine. Catherine did not stand a chance. The 66-year-old was beaten and stabbed to death by the six-foot teenager who had just run away from juvenile detention residence. Using Catherine’s favorite kitchen knife, Veal stabbed Catherine 23 times with so much force that the six-inch blade broke off. Veal then stole Catherine’s credit cards and went shopping. Veal was convicted and sentenced to LWOP though her sentence was later reduced to life with parole. In 2020, Veal was granted work release.
NOVJM member Laura Haynes Shimek gives powerful testimony (see video footage) before the Iowa court that grants Ms. Veal opportunities for parole in her life sentence for brutally murdering Laura’s mother Catherine Haynes.
Judge grants killer Ruthann Veal chance for parole
WATERLOO (KWWL) -Ruthann Veal was convicted of killing University of Northern Iowa librarian Catherine Haynes in June of 1993. Veal was 14 at the time and was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1994. In 2012, the United States Supreme Court ruled mandatory life-without-parole sentences are unconstitutional for children 17 and under. On Monday, a judge said Veal will have a chance for parole.
More than 20 years later, the family of Haynes had a chance to read their victim impact statements to Veal.
“She was kind to you and she tried to be helpful, and you repaid her kindness by beating her and stabbing her to death,” said Laura Haynes Shimek, Haynes’ daughter.
Veal was convicted of stabbing Haynes 23 times in Haynes’ home with Haynes’ favorite kitchen knife.
Veal then took Haynes’ car and went on a shopping spree with her credit cards.
The judge at that time sentenced her to life in prison without parole — a sentence Black Hawk County Attorney Tom Ferguson says was just.
“The brutality of the case, the lack of remorse, the callousness of her actions that evening,” said Ferguson.
In 1994, Veal cried in court, saying the sentence was too harsh. On Monday, she cried again as the judge gave her a chance for parole.
“I would like to say to the victim’s family, I’m sorry for any pain that I have caused to harm your family,” Veal said. “I would like to say to my family, sorry for everything you’re going through. I am.”
Haynes Shimek believes Veal is sorry, but she says she won’t forgive her.
“I don’t hate Ruthann Veal, I really don’t, but I hate what she did and I don’t believe that she should be out on the streets,” Haynes Shimek said. “If she’s been a model prisoner since she’s been at Mitchellville, that’s great, that’s fine. She can stay there and be a mentor.”
Haynes’ family says they plan to be at every parole hearing for Veal, because they don’t believe Veal should ever be free again.
“What I’m going through is nothing compared to what she put my mother through,” said Haynes Shimek.
Veal’s attorney says she is glad she gets a chance.
It’s unclear when she will be up for parole. Ferguson says every offender is reviewed by the board, but not everyone gets a hearing.
From NOVJM’s Jones v. Mississippi amicus brief
In June 1993, 66-year-old Catherine Pauley Haynes
was stabbed to death in her home by 14-year-old
Ruthann Veal. State v. Veal, 564 N. W. 2d 797, 804
(Iowa 1997). Although only 14 years old, Veal already had an extensive juvenile delinquency record, which
included five previous assault charges. NOVJM,
Catherine Pauley Haynes, http://www.teenkillers.org/
index. php/m e morials/iowa-victim s/catherine -pauleyhaynes/. Veal had run away from a juvenile detention
home when she entered Haynes’ house and viciously
beat and murdered her. Veal, supra, at 804. Veal was
later convicted of first-degree murder and given a
mandatory sentence of LWOP. Id., at 802.
From our memorial
Catherine was my mother, and my touchstone to life as I knew it.
She was murdered in her home in 1993 by a 14 year old girl who was a runaway from a juvenile detention home, and from that moment on ‘life’ as I knew it ceased to exist.
Ruth Ann Veal was 6 feet tall and 200 lbs. just 3 weeks shy of her 15th birthday, and had previously been adjudicated 11 times, 5 of those for assault. Veal culminated her criminal career by entering my mother’s house and beating her which split Catherine’s lip, broke 4 ribs and bruised her skull. Veal then took my mother’s favorite kitchen knife and stabbed her 23 times, only stopping because the 6 inch blade actually broke off from the force used.
From that moment on, my family and I were thrown into the abyss of darkness and despair. I felt like I resided in the Twilight Zone, in a parallel universe where everything looked the same but nothing was the same. Even going on 17 years later I can still vividly feel what those first few years felt like. The effects of my mother’s murder will never be over–not for me, and certainly not for my children who were 14, 11 and 4 at the time of the murder.
Ruth Ann Veal was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole, but she continues to file briefs fighting for her release. She is being represented by the Restorative Justice group out of Alabama and her case for post-conviction relief is currently being decided by the Iowa State Supreme Court. I fear the battle to keep her in prison will outlast my lifetime and become my children’s cross to bear as well. I miss my mother every day of my life.
I. Background proceedings. Defendant Ruthann Veal was arrested in June 1993 in connection with the death of Catherine Haynes in Waterloo, Iowa. Veal, who was fourteen years old at the time of her arrest, was waived from juvenile court to criminal adult court and charged by trial information with first-degree murder under Iowa Code section 707.2. The facts leading to that charge will be discussed later in connection with the issues to which they are relevant.
Prior to trial, defendant Veal filed a motion for change of venue, claiming that she could not receive a fair and impartial trial in Black Hawk County because of the publicity the case had generated in that area. The district court overruled the motion, and the case proceeded to a jury trial.
After a three-week trial, the jury found Veal guilty of first-degree murder. Veal filed a motion for new trial, again claiming that the publicity surrounding the case precluded a fair and impartial trial. In addition, she alleged a number of errors by the trial court. While that motion was pending, Veal learned that the trial judge, James C. Bauch, had been present in a bar with members of the county attorney’s staff following the guilty verdict, and she filed a motion to recuse the trial judge. Judge Bauch recused himself, and Judge Robert J. Curnan was assigned by the chief judge of the judicial district to preside over the remaining proceedings. After a hearing, Judge Curnan overruled Veal’s motion for new trial and sentenced her to serve a life term in prison. See Iowa Code § 902.1.
Defendant Veal appealed from the district court’s judgment and sentence. Defendant raises several issues on appeal, contending: (1) the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to convict her of first-degree murder; (2) the district court’s denial of her motion for change of venue deprived Veal of her constitutional right to a fair trial; (3) her constitutional rights were violated by the trial court’s failure to address the prosecutor’s alleged pretextual reasons for his peremptory challenges or strikes to three black prospective jurors; (4) Veal’s right to confront witnesses was denied when the trial court prohibited cross-examination of three witnesses regarding their juvenile records; (5) the trial court abused its discretion when it excluded from evidence the juvenile records of the three witnesses; (6) the trial court erred in sustaining the State’s motion in limine and overruling defendant’s offers of proof and thus prohibiting Veal from offering as evidence statements she had made to the police at the time of her arrest and to another person; (7) the trial court erred in excluding those statements of defendant once the State allegedly had “opened the door” to the statements; (8) testimony by a state’s witness regarding Veal’s request for counsel violated her constitutional rights; (9) the trial court erred in allowing Tequisha Parsons to testify for the State although prosecutors did not disclose to defense counsel the fact Parsons revised her out-of-court statements two weeks before testifying; (10) the trial court abused its discretion in restricting Veal’s cross-examination of Parsons and two other witnesses; (11) the trial court abused its discretion in restricting Veal’s closing argument; (12) the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to submit to the jury three jury instructions proposed by Veal; (13) the trial court abused its discretion by instructing the jury concerning Veal’s other criminal acts; (14) Veal was denied her constitutional right to a trial by a fair tribunal; and (15) the cumulative effect of the trial court’s alleged errors was a denial of Veal’s constitutional right to a fair trial.
WATERLOO, Iowa — An Iowa woman who was convicted in the 1993 stabbing death while she was a teenager was granted work release, authorities said.
Ruthann Veal, 42, who was a 14-year-old runaway when she killed a 66-year-old Waterloo woman, was granted the release after an interview Tuesday with the Iowa Board of Parole, The Courier of Waterloo-Cedar Falls reported. Veal had been denied parole in 2019, the Des Moines Register reported.
“This grant was in comport with the Department of Corrections who recommended that level of transitional release for Ms. Veal at this time,” Andrew Boettger, the vice chairman of the three-person board, wrote in an email.
Veal, of Mason City, was 14 when she fatally stabbed Catherine Haynes, a retired University of Northern Iowa librarian, in her own home in June 1993, The Courier reported. Veal took the woman’s car and credit cards and went shopping, the newspaper reported. She was detained days later in Cedar Rapids.
Veal was charged as an adult and was found guilty of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to the only punishment mandated under state law — life in prison without parole, The Courier reported.
Veal has been in prison since 1995, according to the newspaper. She was the youngest woman in the state’s adult correctional system when she entered prison.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court barred automatic life sentences without parole for juvenile murderers, the Register reported. The Iowa Supreme Court later characterized the sentences as cruel and unusual punishment, the newspaper reported.
After a 2013 hearing in Black Hawk County District Court, Veal was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, The Courier reported.
WATERLOO | A former Mason City resident is eligible for parole after serving time for killing a retired librarian in Waterloo.
In the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that [mandatory] found life sentences without parole for juveniles are cruel and unusual punishment, District Court Judge Brad Harris sentenced Ruthann Veal — who was a 14-year-old runaway when she killed Catherine Haynes, 66, and stole her credit cards in 1993 — to life with the possibility of parole Monday.
Now it’s Haynes’s family who is facing a life sentence of fighting that parole.
“Now we have to go through this for who knows how long,” said Haynes’ daughter, Laura Haynes Shimek.
Shimek said he doesn’t hate Veal, but she also doesn’t forgive her for what she did. Shimek will challenge her parole requests.
“The only thing you need to know about me, and the only thing you are going to hear about, is the fact I will do everything in my power to make sure you spend the rest of your life in prison for the murder of my mother,” Shimek said.
Veal, who has served almost 20 years in prison, is now housed at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women at Mitchellville.
She returned to the Black Hawk County Courthouse on Monday in a green jail uniform, smiled and waved to friends and family with cuffed wrists.
She broke into tears when she faced Shimek and Haynes’s son-in-law and grandchildren to speak.
“I would like to say to the victim’s family I am sorry for any pain I have caused upon your family. I’d like to say to my family I am sorry. … I am sorry,” Veal said.
Black Hawk County Attorney Thomas Ferguson said that while the law states Veal should be eligible for parole, that doesn’t mean he supports parole for her.
The Iowa Board of Parole reviews eligible cases annually, although that doesn’t guarantee Veal will receive a parole hearing, Ferguson said.
Authorities said Veal hid in Haynes’s home after running away. She then attacked Haynes, stabbing her 23 times.
“She was kind to you and tried to be helpful, and you repaid her kindness by beating her and stabbing her to death with what happened to be her favorite kitchen knife,” Shimek told Veal during Monday’s hearing.
Although her voice was unwavering, Shimek admitted she was scared by seeing Veal in person and wanted to flee.
Shimek said what followed the slaying was two decades of pain as she and her family tried to come to terms with the crime. Each year on the anniversary of the slaying, she wrote a single verse in a continuing poem.
“After 10 years, 10 verses, I stopped. The poem was done, and it felt like it was time to lay it rest. But of course that hasn’t happened,” she said.
Shimek said she contacted Veal a number of years ago through a corrections program that connects prisoners with their victims. The two wrote letters, and the daughter said Veal made “baby steps” toward a face-to-face meeting.
“She didn’t express remorse. She didn’t express guilt,” Shimek said. The communication abruptly stopped around 2006 when Veal apparently saw she had a chance at an appeal, said Shimek.
“Part of the victim-offender process is that the offender has admit what they have done, and she was on the cusp of that, and then she got lawyers and a new tactic, and everything ceased,” she said.
Without parole, the family had a sense of finality. Now they will have parole hearings that will continually dig up the painful past.
“I don’t believe she should be out on the streets. If she’s been a model prisoner since she’s been at Mitchellville, that’s great, that’s fine. She can stay there and be a mentor to everybody else that comes up behind her,” Shimek said.
WATERLOO – Ruthann Veal, who killed an elderly Waterloo woman when she was a teenage runaway from Mason City in 1993, has been granted work release.
The move came Tuesday following an interview with a three-member panel of the Iowa Board of Parole, said Andrew Boettger, the board’s vice chairman.
“This grant was in comport with the Department of Corrections who recommended that level of transitional release for Ms. Veal at this time,” Boettger wrote in an email.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the transition would take place or where Veal would be serving work release.
Veal has been in prison since 1995, housed at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville.
Veal was only 14 years old when she repeatedly stabbed 66-year-old Catherine Haynes, a retired University of Northern Iowa librarian, in her own home in June 1993 and took her car and credit cards and went shopping. She was detained days later in Cedar Rapids.
A jury found Veal guilty of first-degree murder in adult court, and she was sentenced to the only punishment for the crime under state law — life in prison without parole. She was the youngest female in the adult correctional system when she entered.