Stories That Specially Illustrate the Dangers of Releasing Teen Killers
Below is just a sampling of the many horrifying stories of recidivism – repeat violent offending by inmates upon early release from their sentences. While we try to focus this page on the argument from juvenile offender advocates that all extremely violent juvenile offenders deserve opportunities for early release (they clearly do not), we also want to highlight the larger problem across the criminal justice system.
The General Dangers of Early Release
This news story from the Chicago area tells the story well of not only the statistical dangers in early release of violent offenders, but also the difficult impact on victims’ families.
Criminal justice as a system is a delicate balancing act, trying to protect the interests of all concerned. What is the right balance between over-incarceration and not enough protection for the public from individuals who are clearly dangerous?
California is one good test case. Courts ordered their state prison population reduced to relieve overcrowding. (AB 109) The state could not afford to build more prisons and the releases began. See some of the results:
AB 109: CRIME ON THE RISE!
“After several years of sharp declines seen locally and nationally, crime appears to be on the rise in the Sacramento area, according to new statistics from law enforcement. Violent crime and property crime each rose 7 percent in the city of Sacramento during the first six months of the year, compared with the same period in 2011. It’s the first time in six years that the city has seen an uptick in crime.Deputy Jason Ramos, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, said a few factors could be contributing to the six-month spike, including AB 109, the state’s realignment plan moving state offenders to the county level, which has put more pressure on local resources.” Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/09/4708245/sacramento-city-county-see-crime.html#storylink=cpy
We have also seen the dangers of early release during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some 10 percent of those cut free from Rikers Island due to coronavirus concerns since March have since been arrested — some multiple times, The Post has learned.
“Out of the roughly 2,500 inmates let go from the city’s largest jail, 250 have used the freedom to allegedly commit nearly 450 new crimes, NYPD data obtained by The Post shows.”
Specific examples of crimes committed by inmates released early due to COVID are described below.
Psychopathy and early release
Many juvenile criminals are psychopaths. They are unable to feel empathy or remorse. They only care about themselves and have absolutely no concern for the well-being of others. They will do anything they want to anyone, so long as it benefits them. They make up around one percent of the population but commit a disproportionately large share of serious violent crimes.
To be considered a psychopath, one must score 30 out of 40 on the Psychopathy Checklist—revised (PCL-R). In the general population the average score is five. Even if one does not meet the 30 point criteria they may still have many psychopathic traits.
Psychopaths are also extremely manipulative. Even the best psychologists and psychiatrists can be tricked by them. Psychopaths often trick parole boards and judges. They are 2.5 times more likely to be granted conditional release than non-psychopaths due to their skills at manipulating. So, even when an offender may appear to be rehabilitated, they may really be manipulating us.
There is currently no cure for psychopathy. In fact, attempts to teach psychopaths empathy and compassion only make them better at manipulating and more dangerous.
Read Dr. Robert Hare’s book Without Conscious The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us to learn more about psychopathy.
Dangerous Early Releases of Juvenile Criminals & Juvenile Criminals
Here are just some examples of juveniles criminals committing additional crimes after being given “second chances,” along with examples of prison violence by juvenile criminals. If all juvenile offenders are required to have a chance to be released, many more crimes like this will occur.
1. Andrew Golden from Arkansas
Police: Arkansas school shooter applied for gun permit Associated Press – December 11, 2008 3:43 AM ET
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – “Police in Arkansas say a man who helped gun down four middle school students and a teacher when he was a child has applied for a concealed-carry permit under a different name. Andrew Golden’s application was filed under the name of Drew Grant. The application was denied. Golden listed a home address 55 miles from the city of Jonesboro, where he and a classmate lured students into gunfire in 1998 during a fake fire drill. Golden was 11 at the time. Golden changed his name after his release from prison last year. A judge has barred lawyers from releasing Golden’s new name or home address. Red flags were raised by the fingerprints provided during the application process and authorities say there are several other reasons why Golden’s application was rejected. Investigators are determining if inaccuracies listed in the rejected application warrant criminal charges.”
2. Maurice Clemmons from Arkansas
November 30, 2009
Clemmons was a repeat violent juvenile offender whose sentence was commuted due his age. He went on to commit more crimes and ultimately murdered four police officers.
When Clemons was 16 he went on a seven-month crime spree, robbing a woman and punching her in the face, burglarizing a state trooper’s home, and bringing a pistol to school. At 17, in 1990, he was sentenced to 108 years in prison. During his time in prison he committed many crimes, including battery, sexual assault, and theft. After 11 years in prison, he asked Governor Mike Huckabee for clemency. Huckabee granted his request, despite the objections of prosecutors, citing his youthful age when he committed the crimes. Upon release, Clemmons spent time in Seattle. He returned to prison after committing another violent crime in 2001. This time, he burst into a house in Camden, Arkansas, and, at gunpoint, robbed the occupants of $10,000. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was released on parole after three years in 2004.
After being released, Clemmons associated with other criminals, including Gerard Wells, who was accused of running an auto theft ring. Clemmons bought a plane ticket for Wells, who is a fugitive to this day. He also re-established ties with a man he had met in prison, who had murdered two people in a robbery. This offender had been released as well, but was linked to a bank robbery in Little Rock and fled to Washington.
Clemmons continued to commit violent crimes. In one incident he threw rocks and broke the windows of cars and houses and attacked the police when they responded. Clemmons was later accused by his wife of molesting her daughter. The mother walked back her claim but two months later Clemmons was arrested and charged with child-rape. He was later released on bail.
On November 29, 2009, Clemmons walked into a coffee shop in Parkland, Washington, and opened fire. He murdered four police officers as they worked on their laptops and prepared to start their shifts. The victims were: Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; Officer Ronald Owens, 37; Officer Tina Griswold, 40; And Officer Greg Richards, 42. All four had been with the department since its inception, and all of them were parents. Clemmons was later shot and killed after refusing a police officer’s commands to stop and appearing to reach for a gun.
There are many systemic failures involved in this case. Clemmons was granted clemency, despite his violent behavior in prison. And after he went back to prison for another violent crime, he was paroled early, serving three years of a 10 year sentence. One would think that a parole board would not want to release a man who had shown that he will use early release to commit more crimes. And finally, Clemmons was released on bail despite the danger he posed.
NOVJM Commentary on the Maurice Clemmons case:
This is exactly the reason why we believe parole is an unreliable system that endangers the public. Our organization is standing nationally with our warnings vindicated but with more sadness than words can say, especially for the orphaned children of the murdered police officers.
3. Herman Duncan from Ohio
Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Phillip Morris wrote an op-ed urging the resignation of a juvenile court judge, Alison Nelson Floyd, for releasing juvenile criminal Herman Duncan who then murdered a fellow teen. Morris says Floyd “should acknowledge that instead, she gambled with the public’s safety by releasing an increasingly dangerous teen hours before he killed” 17-year-old Demel Holiday. Floyd “rolled the dice on a violent juvenile, who had been aggressively working his way up to murder,” says Morris. “Before releasing a 17-year-old delinquent charged with the killing, a juvenile probation officer pleaded with Floyd to lock the boy up. She described the 17-year-old as a threat to the community. The boy, who has been on probation since February for several assaults, intimidation of a witness, carrying a knife and counterfeit drugs, had stopped going to school or following the curfew that Floyd had set for him.” Morris says Floyd discounted the concerns of the probation officer and the fact that he was defying her own terms of probation. “What is the point of the probation department in her world?,” Morris asks. The judge also discounted the pleas of the boy’s mother to lock her son up.
After brutally murdering six-year-old Tiffany Eunick, and being sentenced to life as an adult, Tate accepted a plea deal he earlier had rejected and was paroled at age 19. He was promptly re-arrested for armed robbery of a pizza delivery man and has been sentenced to 30 more years.
“Tate convicted of fatally beating girl
“Tate killed 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick, a neighbor his mother was baby-sitting, on July 28, 1999. His lawyers initially claimed the girl died accidentally while the 160-pound boy was imitating wrestling moves he saw on television, but experts said the girl died of skull fractures and a lacerated liver suffered in a beating that lasted one to five minutes.
“He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in 2001. In 2004, an appeals court tossed out the conviction after finding that it was not clear whether Tate understood what was happening to him. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to time served and 10 years’ probation.
“His mother, Florida Highway Patrol trooper Kathleen Grossett-Tate, insisted that he stay with her. Grossett-Tate has refused repeated requests for an interview.
“He was arrested in September 2004 when police found him outside at 2 a.m. carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade. Judge Lazarus added five years’ probation and warned he would have ‘zero tolerance’ for future violations.
“Earlier this year, according to court documents, another teen told Broward County detectives that Tate stole one of his mother’s guns in March.
“In a statement to police in June, Grossett-Tate said she didn’t report the incident because Tate and the other teen gave conflicting stories. She said her son ‘knows he’s not supposed to go in my room or touch my guns.’
“On May 12, Grossett-Tate left for a 10-day Army Reserve assignment, leaving Tate home alone. Police later found that her three handguns were taken from a closet in her room. Only two have been recovered; none has been conclusively linked to the pizza robbery.”
“Teen tied to pizza robbery
On May 23, Tate allegedly called Domino’s Pizza from a friend’s apartment, ordering four pizzas.
“The friend later told police that Tate, armed with a revolver, hid behind the door when delivery man Walter Gallardo arrived with the order. When Gallardo spotted the gun, he dropped the pizzas and ran, and called police.
“Gallardo, 44, positively identified Tate as the assailant and Tate’s fingerprints were found on the pizza boxes.
“Investigators also discovered that Tate had exchanged cell phone text messages with another friend earlier that day asking if the friend wanted to “bust that lick” — a street term for robbery.
“The friend replied that they should do it at night, and the response from Tate’s phone read: ‘It’s better to do it in the daytime when nobody’s home and I got my fire,’ which prosecutors say is a reference to a gun. Police say they believe the two planned to rob drug dealers.
“Tate faces six charges of probation violation. The judge could sentence him to anything from life in prison to no prison time.
“’He’s optimistic that there’s an end result that doesn’t send him to jail for life,’ said his lawyer, Williams.
“FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 18 — Lionel Tate, who was sentenced to life in prison five years ago for stomping a playmate to death when he was 12, was told by a judge that he was out of chances and sentenced on Thursday to 30 years in prison for violating his probation. He could again face life in prison for robbing a pizza deliveryman at gunpoint.
“Mr. Tate, now 19, pleaded guilty in March to violating his probation and robbing the deliveryman in a deal that would have sent him to prison for a maximum of 30 years for both charges. But he later asked Judge Joel T. Lazarus of Broward County Circuit Court to withdraw that plea.
“On Thursday, the judge rejected Mr. Tate’s request to withdraw his plea for the probation violation and sentenced him on that charge. The judge did, however, accept Mr. Tate’s plea withdrawal for the armed robbery charge and set that case for trial on Sept. 18.”
“The boy’s legal defense team notably declined a plea deal offer from then-prosecutor Ken Padowitz that would’ve sentenced him to three years in a juvenile center, one year of house arrest and 10 years of probation on a reduced second-degree charge.
“But Tate, who was charged with killing Tiffany Eunick in 1999 when Tate was 12 years old, had a case fraught with complications from the start, Lewis and others agreed.
“The justice system wasn’t prepared to handle a brutally violent case involving such a young defendant, they said.
“Padowitz said he thinks those circumstances tied his hands. Wanting to be a ‘minister of justice,’ Padowitz said, he instead had to be prosecutorial.
“He was stuck ‘between a rock and a hard place,’ faced with pursuing standard sentences either in the juvenile or adult systems that Padowitz considered unjust. Padowitz said he left it up to a grand jury, which charged Tate as an adult for first-degree murder. ‘I tried to do the right thing,’ he said.
“Senior Broward County Judge Joel Lazarus, who presided over the case, said he regrets ‘to this day’ he didn’t appoint an attorney to work directly with Tate and oversee a psychological evaluation until after the appeals court ruling.
“‘The issue of competency … seemed to take a back-burner,’ Lazarus said.
“After an appeals court threw out Tate’s lifetime prison sentence in 2003, the teen violated the terms of his probation by taking part in an armed robbery of a pizza-delivery man and is now serving a 30-year prison sentence.
“Tate, currently held at Everglades Correctional Institution in Miami-Dade County, is scheduled to be released from prison on Sept. 16, 2030, state records show.
“Tate’s time in prison led to a ‘deeper dive’ toward more run-ins with law enforcement, said David Watkins, director of equity and academic attainment at Broward County Public Schools. Watkins oversaw Tate’s education after sentencing.
“‘I knew he was gone,’ Watkins said after the panel. ‘He was institutionalized at this point.’
“Although the case had its complications, Padowitz said the justice system has since improved on how similar trials are handled.
“‘I really think that if there’s anything to be said about this case, it’s that it did have an impact nationwide, it did have an impact on legislation,’ the former prosecutor said. ‘It made people really examine and think about what are we doing in this system. And provide alternatives that are appropriate age-based punishments and rehabilitation.'”
“FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Lionel Tate (search), the teen who walked out of prison this year after his life sentence for killing a 6-year-old playmate was overturned, was arrested on charges of violating his probation after authorities said they found him out late at night with a knife in his pocket.”
“Tate was 12 when he killed 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick (search) more than five years ago. He served three years of a mandatory life sentence for first-degree murder before the 4th District Court of Appeal overturned his conviction, clearing the way for a plea deal to second-degree murder. The appeals court ruled that his mental competency was not evaluated before trial.”
“Before he was convicted of first-degree murder, Tate’s mother had turned down a plea deal offered by prosecutors that would have brought him a three-year sentence for a guilty plea to second-degree murder.”
4. Scott Darnell from Illinois
A juvenile violent sex offender raped and murdered 10-year-old Vicki while on summer release.
Darnell was a recidivist violent juvenile offender whose sex offenses and threats to kill were KNOWN by the Illinois juvenile probation program that was supposed to be monitoring him. He raped and murdered 10-year old-Victoria Larson, because he had been given early release from his other sentences. Victoria’s mother sued the state for failing to do their job by releasing the offender, and improperly supervising him when they did. Accounts of what Darnell did to Victoria and other young girls he raped are too gruesome to publish here. Now he is serving a life sentence as an adult but is trying to obtain early release again, saying that he has found redemption as a Buddhist. Our view: this man deserves to be punished for the rest of his life. And if he is rehabilitated in any genuine way, he should only care for setting the minds of Victoria’s family at ease by accepting his punishment, and not further threatening them as he has with his efforts to free himself. What we know about child sex predators from science is that they are never “cured”. Would you let this man live next to your family? The life sentence is appropriate.
Here is some more information from our memorial for Vicki
Later, his long criminal record was published; torturing small animals at an early age, progressing, to sticking his hand down little girls panties, threatening young girls, stealing guns and leaving frightening letters, again for an under developed girl. He used knives to scare girls and raped small girls. He began to dig graves in the snow or plotted them in dirt. Darnell was incarcerated in every juvenile prison in Illinois. The last time for planning another girl’s murder, he’d gone as far as digging her grave, but, that time he changed his mind and didn’t follow out the killing. His so called ‘visit’ was a summer release, the state said he was safe to go to his grandparent’s home, even though, he’d promised several times he would KILL!
Read more here.
5. Jimmy Scales and Mical Thomas from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Teen offenders who already had criminal histories involving robbery and murder were tried as juveniles and released early by juvenile supervisors. They then murdered a pregnant woman.
“The top officials in the state’s juvenile corrections office in Milwaukee have been put on administrative leave as part of an investigation into the cases of two teenagers who are charged with killing a pregnant woman in front of her son while on parole supervision for previous serious crimes, the Journal Sentinel has learned.
“According to sources familiar with the investigation, the administrative leaves for such senior people – insiders say the leaves may be a first for the Department of Corrections – are related to the cases of a pair of teen defendants, Jimmy Scales, 18, and Mical Thomas, 16, whom the Milwaukee office supervised. Both went to juvenile prison for violent crimes before their release.
“Thomas, Scales and Malik Merchant, 15, are charged with the killing Aug. 7 of Sharon Staples in front her 13-year-old son in a robbery on Milwaukee’s west side.
“On Friday, the top three officials in the department’s Community Supervision Program’s southeast regional office on N. Holton St. in Milwaukee were put on administrative leave, sources said. The office oversees supervision of offenders released from the state’s juvenile prisons in nine counties, including Milwaukee.”
“Scales was committed to the department’s five-year serious juvenile offender program Feb. 4, 2009, after he was found delinquent in Children’s Court for his role in a 2008 killing where he acted as the planner and getaway driver.
“Under the serious juvenile offender program, the department can keep a juvenile locked up for a maximum of three years, plus two years of supervision. But Scales’ juvenile record shows officials released him March 31, 2011 – 10 months before his maximum confinement time would have been up on Feb. 4, 2012. Had he been kept for the full time, he would have been off the streets the morning the Staples slaying occurred.
“Thomas was released under supervision May 5, three months before his commitment with the Department of Corrections was up. The department could have kept him in confinement until two days after the homicide, but then the department would have been forced to release him without any supervision. Thomas had been convicted as a juvenile of robbery, auto theft and a gun offense.”
“Thomas is charged in adult court with first-degree reckless homicide as the alleged shooter in Staples’ death. Prosecutors said Thomas tried to rob Staples and shot her when she would not surrender her purse. When she collapsed, he and Merchant – prosecutors said he acted as a lookout – fled. They later came back and stole her purse while her son ran for help. Scales acted as a getaway driver, a criminal complaint states.
“As the newspaper previously reported, at the time of the Staples homicide, Scales was out on parole in the 2008 case, where he was charged with planning the shooting of 18-year-old Jonathan Mayfield after a party. Prosecutors said he asked his friends to show up with guns and pointed out the victim. After the shooting, he drove the getaway car – the same role he is accused of having in the Staples killing.
“Scales’ co-defendants in the 2008 killing were convicted in adult court of first-degree reckless homicide and sentenced to 20 years in jail each plus several years of supervision.
“Milwaukee police Chief Ed Flynn has criticized Wisconsin’s juvenile justice system, saying police and a victimized community are left to pick up the pieces of an ‘irretrievably broken’ system.
‘Young men embarking on a life of crime learn important lessons during their first exposure to criminal justice,’ Flynn said. ‘If that first exposure, and the second exposure and the third exposure is that violent conduct has no consequences, why should we be surprised that that conduct is repeated?'”
Scales was later pled guilty to felony murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Thomas pled guilty to two counts of first-degree reckless homicide and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
6. Robert A. Williams – New York
NOVJM offers this graphic description of a teen killer who was tried and sentenced as a juvenile, which meant he was released at the age of adulthood. He went on to rape, torture, and attempt to murder a woman in her apartment. Here are the consequences of that horrible decision to release this dangerous man:
The time crept by so slowly and painfully that the 23-year-old Columbia University journalism student had decided it was time to end her life.
Over many torturous hours, she had been repeatedly raped, sodomized and forced to perform oral sex, a prosecutor told a jury on Thursday. The accused, Robert A. Williams, 31, had doused the woman’s face and body with boiling water and bleach, forced her to swallow handfuls of pills and to chase them with beer, sealed her mouth with glue, and bound her wrists and legs with shoelaces, cords and duct tape, said the prosecutor, Ann P. Prunty. And now, Ms. Prunty said, he was asking the woman to gouge out her own eyes with a pair of scissors.
And so the woman, sitting on the floor of her studio apartment in Hamilton Heights and holding a pair of scissors between her knees — the blade pointing toward her face — tried to stop the suffering. She lowered her face to the blade, but turned her head at the last moment, trying to stab herself in the neck instead of her eyes.
The scissors slipped from her grasp, the suicide attempt failed, and the woman suffered several more hours of torture, Ms. Prunty said.
The woman survived the nearly 19-hour ordeal, which ended, Ms. Prunty said, when she used a fire started by Mr. Williams to burn the cords that secured her wrists to a futon.
Mr. Williams went on trial Thursday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, where he faces 71 criminal counts, including attempted murder, rape, arson and assault. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Mr. Williams, who was homeless at the time of his arrest about a week later at the scene of a burglary in Queens, has a lengthy police record dating to his childhood, the authorities have said.
He was charged in a murder as a juvenile, though the outcome of that case is sealed, a law enforcement official said, and he spent eight years in prison for an attempted-murder conviction in 1996. The prosecution began presenting its case with Ms. Prunty’s vivid, step-by-step account of the attack, which she said began about 10 p.m. on April 13, 2007, and lasted until 4 p.m. the following afternoon. Mr. Williams’s lawyer, Arnold J. Levine, did not make an opening statement. Outside the courtroom, Mr. Levine declined to talk about his strategy. In hearings before the trial, he seemed to indicate that he would challenge witnesses’ identification of his client.
The victim and several witnesses in the six-story apartment building where the woman lived picked out Mr. Williams from lineups, Ms. Prunty said. She said that DNA evidence also linked him to the crime.
Justice Carol Berkman, who is presiding over the trial, found in October that Mr. Williams was mentally fit for trial. After that decision, Mr. Levine said he was considering a mental illness defense.
As Ms. Prunty delivered her opening statement, Mr. Williams sat slouched in his chair, with his head tilted downward.
On the night of the attack, the victim, a month from graduating with a master’s degree, was at Columbia, putting the final touches on her résumé for a job fair the next day, Ms. Prunty said. When she arrived at her apartment building, she got on the elevator and found Mr. Williams inside, Ms. Prunty said. She rode with him to her floor, and could hear him follow her as she navigated the long L-shaped hallway to her apartment.
As the woman entered her apartment, Ms. Prunty said, Mr. Williams asked her if she knew where a Mrs. Evans lived. The woman stopped to answer.
“Her kind moment of hesitation would cost her,” Ms. Prunty said. Mr. Williams forced his way into the apartment, Ms. Prunty said, put the woman in a chokehold, and slapped her cellphone from her hand.
Mr. Williams slammed the door behind him, and “her Friday the 13th nightmare began,” Ms. Prunty said.
Mr. Williams turned a clock by the woman’s bed to the wall and made her take off her watch so she would not know what time it was, Ms. Prunty said. He raped her repeatedly and cut her hair because “he wanted to see her face, her fear and humiliation.”
He made her sit in her bathtub, and that was the first time he told her to gouge her eyes, Ms. Prunty said. He punished her for refusing by boiling water in a kettle and throwing it on her, the prosecutor said. The water jolted her so much that she broke through the bonds on her wrist, Ms. Prunty said, as the skin on her chest, torso and thighs blistered. (On hearing this detail, one of the jurors shook his head and covered his mouth.)
“Just kill me! Just kill me!” the woman pleaded, Ms. Prunty said.
Later, after her failed attempt to kill herself with the scissors, Mr. Williams threw a heavy object at the back of her head, cracking her skull, Ms. Prunty said.
Mr. Williams was intent on damaging her vision because, Ms. Prunty said, “a blind witness could never identify her attacker.”
Mr. Williams eventually slit the woman’s eyelids and face with a butcher knife, Ms. Prunty said, but she did not lose her vision. He fastened her legs and arms to a futon, and she lost consciousness. When she awoke, she again pleaded for him to kill her, but heard no response. He was gone.
Mr. Williams “only stopped when he could no longer feel the scourge of control over another human being,” Ms. Prunty said.
The woman smelled smoke, Ms. Prunty said, so she wriggled her legs free and pulled the futon away from the wall. She used the fire to free her arms, Ms. Prunty said, and then ran through the smoke to her door. It took her several attempts to open it because her hands were limp and numb, Ms. Prunty said.
The woman ran through her hallway seeking help, Ms. Prunty said, “an image of the walking, living dead.”
And here is some more on this man’s criminal history from ‘HORROR RAPIST’S’ HISTORY IS ROOT OF ‘EVIL’
At age 15, Williams – by then a drug runner in his father’s gang – shot a rival to death.
Within three weeks of getting out of prison, at 19, he shot another rival, who survived, twice in the back on West 148th Street. He served another seven years.
In 2003, Williams – 26 years old and having spent more of his teen and adult years inside prison than out – was released straight from solitary confinement into the community.
“Given his record of paranoia and violence in prison, he should have been civilly committed,” one source said.
8. David Pederson from Oregon
The dark journey of David Pederson is chronicled in this lengthy article from Portland, Oregon. After release from prison at age 30 for violent crimes he committed as a teen, he went on a killing spree.
Pedersen had an extensive juvenile criminal history. In 1996 he committed an armed robbery at a coffee stand and made off with $600. A couple months later he robbed another coffee stand and a MacDonald’s using an unloaded gun. He pled guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery and was sentenced to 70 months in prison without parole, as dictated by laws enacted by Oregon voters. Though intake tests found his potential for violence to be “slight”, he earned almost a dozen disciplinary reports while in a Newport’s Lincoln County Jail, which was leased by the Oregon Youth Authority. He then went to the MacLaren Youth Correctional Institution. MacLaren staff begged the Department of Corrections to transfer him to an adult prison. He was later transferred to Salem’s Oregon State Correctional Institution. State corrections staff flagged him as an associate of the Aryan Soldiers, a radical white supremacist prison gang.
Monthly Portland reported that Pederson had 70 disciplinary reports. He wrote threatening letters to judges and prosecutors, assaulted an officer, and more. He was transferred to a federal prison in Florence, Colorado, after writing ominous letters to a prosecutor and a judge who sentenced a white supremacist.
Pederson was released three months early on good behavior. In 2011 he went on a massive crime spree with his girlfriend that he later admitted he had planned for years. Pederson shot his father in the head. His girlfriend slashed his stepmother’s throat. In Newport, Oregon, the pair carjacked 19-year-old Cody Faye Myers, who was in town for a jazz fest. They killed Cody to eliminate him as a witness and avoid capture. Concerned because they were driving a stolen car, they carjacked Reginald Clark in Eureka, California. They murdered him to eliminate him as a witness. Their ultimate goal was to murder Jewish leaders. The pair was caught by the California State Highway Patrol before they could do so.
A mental health evaluation described Pederson as an “intelligent, polite, well-spoken, funny, likable young guy.” The report also noted that he exhibits narcissistic and antisocial traits.
9. James Tramel from California
Tramel served 18 years for a second-degree murder he was involved in at 17. Upon release, he became a priest and spoke out against long sentences for juvenile killers like himself. He even testified in favor of retroactively ending JLWOP before the California legislature.
At first, Tramel seems to have become an upstanding citizen, fighting for justice and fair sentences for teens. He seems like the perfect example of why JLWOP should be abolished. But them the truth came out. Tramel never stopped committing crimes. He sexually abused a victim during her counseling sessions. The Episcopal Diocese acknowledged that he abused his power and committed sexual misconduct. He was suspended for two years.
See here for more.
10. Anthony Givens from Michigan
Anthony Givens raped and murdered 44-year-old Liza Olsen in her home in New Buffalo, Michigan. Prior to this crime, he had engaged in several other violent acts. A few weeks before killing Liza he broke into another woman’s home and sexually assaulted her. He was armed with a knife and told the woman “shut up or I’ll kill you.” He then struck her in the head with a bottle. Givens had juvenile adjudications for unlawfully driving an automobile and 2nd degree home invasion. He was given three years of probation for the unlawful automobile use. The probation term included 90 days tether. He was on tether when he raped and murdered Liza.
Read more here.
11. Brian Granger from Michigan
Brian Granger had a juvenile adjudication for a criminal sexual assault on a seven-year-old in 1981. He was sent to the Boysville Detention Center and then the Parmenter House. Less than a weak after release, he attacked and murdered Sandra Nestle as she jogged. He choked her unconscious, stripped her naked, and raped her. He left Sandra face-down in a partially filled drainage ditch, covered her with vegetation, and left. Sandra drowned.
Read more here.
12. Robert Houston from Utah
Robert Houston raped and murdered 22-year-old Raechale Elton in Clearfield, Utah. Raechale worked at the Youth Health Associates, a group home for juvenile sex offenders that Houston resided in. Houston had been sent to the YHA after he committed two knife-point sexual assaults. He continued his violence during his stay at the home–he was caught planning and attempting more attacks. He stayed in the group home until he finally escalated his crimes to aggravated murder.
Houston could have been sent to jail or prison or at least a more restrictive group home after the knife-point sexual assaults. At the very least, he could have been removed from the group home and sent somewhere else after he was caught planning and attempting more crimes, as this continued violence showed that 1) the group home was not rehabilitating or reforming him and 2) the group home was not able to keep people safe from him. Instead, this repeat violent sex-offender was given several “second chances”, none of which helped him. Those chances allowed him to escalate his violence, ultimately earning him an LWOP sentence.
13. Markus Evans from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Evans’s long criminal history is detailed in Violent incidents, light punishment started early for slaying suspect.
Evans assaulted a high school safety aide with an iron rod. He attacked another school aide, diving across a desk to hit him. He was arrested after the latter incident but was released. After his mother took his motorized toy car away, he poured gasoline around their house and tried to light his mother on fire. When he was 15, he shot his cousin in the back with a shotgun. The case was kept in juvenile court and he was incarcerated for 14 months. Upon release, he murdered 17-year-old Jonoshia Anderson.
Read more about Jonoshia here:
14. Travis Lewis from Arkansas
Lewis was sentenced to 28 and a half years in prison for murdering Sally McKay and Joseph Baker. He was paroled after 23 years in 2018. He went onto murder Sally’s daughter Martha McKay in 2020. Woman found murdered on same Snowden property at Horseshoe Lake, Arkansas, where mother was killed nearly 24 years earlier
A man convicted of a pair of infamous Arkansas murders in 1996 is suspected of returning to the home of the crimes and killing the daughter of one of his original victims, officials said.
Martha McKay was found dead at the historic Snowden home in Horseshoe Lake after deputies responded to an alarm there, according to Crittenden County Sheriff Mike Allen.
As they initially searched the house, deputies saw the suspect, Travis Lewis, jump from an upstairs window, run to a vehicle and drive it across the yard, where it got stuck.
“The suspect then jumped from the car and ran and jumped into the lake,” Allen said in a statement. “He was observed going under the water and never came back up.” Lewis’s body was then recovered from the water by a search and rescue team. The apparent drowning has yet to be confirmed by the state medical examiner, who is expected to determine his official cause of death later this week, authorities said.
In 1996, Lewis pleaded guilty to the murders of Martha’s mother, Sally Snowden McKay and Martha’s first cousin, Lee Baker, who was a popular local musician.
Lewis killed Sally and Lee after being surprised by them while he attempted to steal from the Snowden home, officials said.
Lewis, 16 at the time, was charged as an adult, Allen said. But some of the victims’ family opposed a capital sentence for Lewis’s original conviction. Among them was Martha, who befriended Lewis while he was in prison, Dottie Jones, Martha’s first cousin, told the Memphis Flyer. He was paroled in 2018.
The Snowden family, along with their massive lakeside property, is well-known in the region.
Martha McKay was one of ten grandchildren of the home’s original owners, Bob and Grace Snowden, according to the Snowden House website. She returned to Horseshoe Lake in 2004 to buy it from the rest of her family and fully renovate it. The property has recently served as a wedding venue.
Neighbors reportedly said that McKay had been stabbed. Her official cause and manner of death will be determined by the state medical examiner, Allen said.
Authorities are still investigating.
15. Anthony Pardon from Ohio
Pardon, who had an extensive juvenile criminal history, was released into society as an adult and committed more crimes. He went on to rape, torture, and murder Rachael Anderson in 2018.
When Pardon was 14 he raped an eight-year-old girl. When he was 15 he raped a nine-month-old baby boy. He was convicted of raping the infant as a juvenile. When Pardon was 16 he raped a woman and then bound and gagged her. He kidnapped her and took her to a river. He threw her into the river and when he saw that she was able to keep afloat he went in and held her head down. The victim was rescued by a Good Samaritan. Pardon was convicted of this crime as an adult and was sentenced to five to 25 years in prison. He was released after 25 years but went back to prison for another nine years after committing forgery. He was again released in 2017.
In January 2018 Pardon invaded the home of 24-year-old aspiring funeral director Rachael Anderson. He gagged and hogtied her, tortured her, and raped her. He killed her by stabbing her in the head with a nine-inch steak knife and by strangling her with an electric blanket cord.
16. Christopher and Lawrence Boggs from Utah
The Boggs brothers were tried as juveniles for murdering Cody Brotherson, a police officer. They committed assaults while incarcerated and were charged as adults, meaning their juvenile sentences were dismissed. After being sentenced as adults, they were released early. They were then caught allegedly committing more crimes.
In the early morning hours of November 6, 2016, 15-year-old Christopher Boggs, his 14-year-old brother Lawrence Boggs, and a 15-year-old friend, murdered West Valley police officer Cody Brotherson. The teens were fleeing police in a stolen car, going about 80 mph. Cody, 25, was trying to deploy tire spikes near an intersection, when he was hit and likely killed on impact. At least one officer saw the vehicle swerve towards Cody.
The killers were originally charged in juvenile court. Prosecutors had a hard time getting them tried as adults because they could not prove who the driver was. The youth pleaded guilty for their roles in Cody’s death and were sentenced to confinement at juvenile detention centers, along with community service. A juvenile judge called on the state’s Juvenile Justice Services to keep the killers in custody for “as long as possible.” Because their cases stayed in juvenile court, the murderers could only be detained until their 21st birthdays.
During his time in juvenile detention, Christopher was charged with assault by a prisoner in the 2nd District Court as an adult. He had gotten into an apparently premeditated fight with another inmate and then fought staff who tried to restrain him. He was given a suspended five-year prison term in March 2020. He was sentenced to spend six months in jail with credit for the 55 days he had served since his arrest. He was released on April 17, 2020.
Lawrence was charged in the 2nd District Court with assault by a prisoner with a gang-enhancement. He was sentenced to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison. He was released early on parole in May 2020. According to the Utah Department of Corrections, his early release was in collaboration with the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole to open up space in confinement facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once the Boggs brothers were taken into the adult system, their sentences in the juvenile system were dismissed. So they could not be sent back to juvenile detention centers to complete their sentences for Cody’s murder. Cody’s sister Jenny pointed out that the killers’ early releases were basically rewards for committing more crimes.
Upon release, the Boggs brothers allegedly became involved with gangs. In July 2020, they were caught driving 100 mph with a stolen car. Police found two guns inside the stolen car. Christopher was also charged with receiving stolen property. According to a report by the Adult Probation and Parole: “Mr. Boggs was the driver of a stolen vehicle and continues to involve himself in the gang lifestyle.” Since he was released in April 2020 he “has been continuing to live the gang and criminal lifestyle while in the community. He associates with his brother Lawrence who is a major influence in the (gang) lifestyle…” The report further stated: “What is known is Mr. Boggs has no intention of not living a criminal lifestyle. He is a significant public safety risk and his criminal history, past and current gang involvement speak for itself.”
Cody’s sister Jenny wants harsher penalties for juveniles who commit serious felonies.“It’s time for laws to change,” she says. “Especially if you intentionally or recklessly take a life during the act of a crime. There should be adult consequences. You made an adult decision there should be adult consequences.”
Just a couple more examples of dangerous early releases.
17. Steven Pratt from New Jersey
When Pratt was 15 in 1984 he murdered his neighbor Michael Anderson. He spent 30 years in prison. Within two days of being released, he murdered his mother.
Steven Pratt was released from prison in October 2014, after a 30-year stint behind bars for murdering his neighbor in 1984. He was 15 when the murder happened.
On Feb. 17, Pratt pleaded guilty to another murder, that of his 64-year-old mother, Gwendolyn Pratt, whom he bludgeoned to death two days after he was released from prison, CBS News reported. After he was released, his family threw him a welcome home party, Press of Atlantic City reported.
“It’s so devastating. You just never know what people are going through,” said neighbor Ruan Tilghman-Pugh.
It’s unclear what preceded Gwendolyn’s murder, but she was found dead in her Atlantic City, New Jersey, home, NJ.com reported. Her son was found at the crime scene and he later told the judge in tears that he didn’t want to go to trial because he was guilty, The Associated Press reported.
According to court records from the 1984 murder, the victim, Michael Anderson, was a father figure to Pratt. The two argued when some of Pratt’s friends refused to leave the apartment hallway, then Pratt came to Anderson’s apartment with a lead pipe. Anderson took the pipe from Pratt and bloodied his face, but Pratt left, only to return later with a borrowed handgun. Pratt shot Anderson in the face and shoulder. Anderson died several days later.
Pratt was charged as an adult and the case went to trial two years later, at which point Pratt was convicted on manslaughter. He unsuccessfully appealed the sentence three times.
Pratt was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murdering his mother and he must serve 85 percent of that term, or 21 years and three months, before he’s eligible for parole.
45-year-old man who on Friday finished serving 30 years in prison is charged with killing his mother two days after being released, authorities said.
Steven Pratt was arrested Sunday morning, less than 48 hours after he was freed from Bayside State Prison for killing his neighbor in 1984.
Gwendolyn Pratt, 64, was found dead in her McKinley Avenue home around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said. She died of massive blunt injuries to her head.
A welcome-home party for Steven Pratt had just been held, PressofAC.com reported.
Pratt was tried as an adult after shooting Michael Anderson in a Carver Hall apartment building in Atlantic City 30 years ago, according to the website.
According to court records, Pratt and Anderson argued after Pratt and some of his friends refused to leave an apartment hallway where they were noisily hanging out. Pratt returned to Anderson’s apartment with a lead pipe, but Anderson took the weapon away and bloodied Pratt’s face.
Pratt then returned with a borrowed handgun and shot Anderson.
He is now being held in lieu of $1 million bail, the prosecutor said.
18. Dwain Little from Oregon
Little was 15 when he raped and murdered 15-year-old Oria Fipps in 1964. He was paroled in 1974. That year, he allegedly murdered the Cowden family. There is lots of circumstantial evidence pointing to his involvement, but he has not confessed or been convicted. In 1980 Little was convicted of raping and attempting to murder a woman. His parole was revoked and he was given three life sentences.
Rule, Ann (2009). But I Trusted You, and Other Case Files.
19. Desmond Lee from the UK.
MURDERER Desmond Lee was branded “evil and dangerous” as he was told he would spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The 39-year-old was handed a whole life sentence yesterday for killing his lover Christopher Pratt, before dumping his body atScammonden.
Lee, pictured, committed the offence at his flat on Sackville Street in Ravensthorpe, while out on licence, having spent nearly 14 years in jail for the murder of Bradford woman Shirley Carr in 1989.
Leeds Crown Court judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies told Lee: “Less than five years after your release you killed Christopher Pratt.
“You are a dangerous and evil man.”
She added: “In the circumstances, the order which I propose to make is a whole life order, which is exactly what it means.
“Life in your case should mean life.”
Mr Pratt, 51, a father-of-two who lived in Grantham, Lincolnshire, had known Lee for several months after they met at a gay sauna in Dewsbury.
While at his flat on August 16 last year, Lee killed his lover by breaking his voice box and a bone in his neck.
The body was still in his flat when he stole Mr Pratt’s credit and debit cards, paid off a phone bill, bought booze for a party with neighbours, ordered more than £200-worth of food from Asda and attempted to buy £1,181-worth of goods from Argos.
The day after the murder, he bundled Mr Pratt’s naked body into the back of the dead man’s car and drove to Scammonden, where he dumped it on moorland off New Hey Road.
He suffocated Mrs Carr, who was his landlady, in November 1989 after she taunted him over the breakdown of a relationship.
Lee was jailed for life in 1990 but released on licence in 2004.
Juvenile Criminals Who Continue Violence in Prison
1. Louis Gomez from Los Angeles County, California
Two years after Gomez was sentence to LWOP for his role in a 1994 murder, he killed again. He stabbed his fellow inmate Abe Mendibles in a prison classroom on April 13, 1998. His LWOP sentence was for his role in a felony murder during a commission of a robbery. He received a second consecutive LWOP sentence for the prison murder in which he stabbed the victim 14 times.
2. Oscar Mora from La County, California
Mora, a member of a criminal street gang, fatally shot three victims and wounded a fourth victim in 1991 and was sentenced to JLWOP (three JLWOP terms). He was subsequently given another consecutive 25 years to life term after being convicted of being a prisoner in possession of weapons.
3. Kristopher Kirchner from Vista, California
Kirchner was sentenced to life without possibility of parole for the brutal 1993 murder of Ross Elvey during the commission of a robbery of his commercial business in Vista, California. The victim was brutally beaten with a metal pipe, sustaining 25 skull fractures and dying after being in a coma for 40 days. Since being incarcerated for life without possibility of parole for the murder of Mr. Elvey, Kirchner has been convicted of attempted murder of another inmate at Folsom State Prison. Kristopher Kirchner and another inmate, Jayson Weaver, attacked and stabbed a fellow inmate. The entire crime was videotaped, and the videotape was played for the jury. Kirchner was found guilty of assault by a life prisoner with a deadly weapon and possession by an inmate of a weapon. Kirchner was sentenced to a term of 25 years to life plus nine years for enhancements, both to run consecutive to his JLWOP sentence.
Other Dangerous Early Releases
1. Phillip Garrido from California
Garrido and his wife Nancy became infamous in 2009 after a woman they had kidnapped named Jaycee Dugard escaped. Jaycee was 11-years-old when she was abducted by the couple while walking to the bus stop in 1991. She was taken to their home in Antioch, California. Jaycee was held captive for 18 years enduring many rapes and other brutalities. Had Garrido not been released early from prison, this never would have happened.
In 1976 Garrido kidnapped a young woman in South Lake Tahoe, California. He took her to a warehouse in Reno, Nevada, where he raped her over a five and a half hour period. A police officer rescued the victim and arrested Garrido. He was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life. He was paroled after 11 years in prison in 1988.
A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard
2. Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes from Connecticut
Two criminals, Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, were paroled early despite their extensive criminal histories. In the summer of 2007 they invaded the Petit family’s home. Komisarjevsky beat the father, Dr. William Petit, nearly to death and raped the 11-year-old daughter Michaela. Hayes raped the mother Jennifer and strangled her to death. Both men murdered Michaela and her sister Hayley by tying them to their beds, dousing them with gasoline and setting the house on fire.
Komisarjevsky and Hayes committed perhaps the most infamous crime in Connecticut. On July 23, 2007, they invaded the home of Dr. William Petit, his wife Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and their daughters Hayley Petit, 17, and Michaela Petit, 11. Komisarjevsky beat Dr. Petit nearly to death with a baseball bat. Hayes raped Jennifer and Komisarjevsky raped Michaela. Hayes murdered Jennifer by strangling her. Komisarjevsky and Hayes then brutally murdered Hayley and Michaela: While the girls were tied to their beds, the men doused them with gasoline. They doused most of the house with gas as well. They started a fire and left the Petit daughters to burn alive. Both girls died of smoke inhalation. Medical examiners say that they may have felt the burns they received while alive.
Both assailants were paroled early despite extensive criminal histories. Komisarjevsky was an avid home invader. He enjoyed breaking into people’s homes and going from room to room to listen to the occupants breath. He loved the feeling of violating their safety. In 2002 he was sentenced to nine years in prison for 12 counts of burglary. During sentencing, the judge described him as a “calculated, cold-blooded predator.” Komisarjevskly was paroled four years later. The parole board never got the transcript of the sentencing, so they did not know the details of his case. He was sent to a halfway house where he met Hayes, another recidivist criminal. Hayes was convicted as an adult for the first time in 1980 at 16. Between then and the home invasion murders, he was arrested nearly 30 times. His last arrest prior to the murders was in 2004 after he smashed a car window with a rock and stole a woman’s purse. He was paroled in 2006.
The Cheshire Murders This documentary by HBO examines the criminal histories of the killers and the systemic failures that lead to the home invasion murders.
3. Florida man allegedly murders a week after being released due to COVID-19
NOVJM is using initials because the suspect has not been convicted of the murder.
J.W. was released March 19 following the issuance of an administrative order aimed at lowering the risk of COVID-19 spread within the Hillsborough County jail, police said J.W., 26, was being held there on $2,500 bond for felony and misdemeanor drug charges.
Seven days later, J.W. allegedly shot and killed someone in Tampa, said police, who didn’t disclose additional details on the victim or the crime.
J.W. was arrested April 13 for second-degree murder, resisting an officer with violence, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia, authorities said. A judge set bail at $250,000.
“There is no question J.W. took advantage of this health emergency to commit crimes while he was out of jail awaiting resolution of a low-level, non-violent offense,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “Judges, prosecutors, and Sheriffs around the country are facing difficult decisions during this health crisis with respect to balancing public health and public safety. Sheriffs in Florida and throughout our country have released non-violent, low-level offenders to protect our deputies and the jail population from an outbreak.”
Police said J.W. has a long criminal history that includes felony burglary and drug convictions.
It’s unclear whether J.W. has retained legal counsel at this time. No attorney information was available in online court records.
The office of State Attorney Andrew Warren did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
As of Tuesday, 35 inmates and 56 jail employees had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
4. Colorado man allegedly murders after being released due to COVID-19
A robber who was released early due to the COVID-19 pandemic allegedly murdered a young woman.
A man who was released from prison last month on parole following policies enacted by Gov. Jared Polis to prevent an outbreak of the new coronavirus among inmates has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a woman last weekend in Denver.
C.H., 40, is accused of first-degree murder in the slaying of 21-year-old Heather Perry near the intersection of East Colfax Avenue and Verbena Street on May 9.
C.H. was released on April 15, four months early, under an executive order by Polis before that allows inmates to be released on “special-needs parole.”
The idea behind the order is to reduce inmate populations and then avoid a major outbreak of the disease. Colorado prisons have, nonetheless, seen hundreds of coronavirus cases and at least two deaths linked to the disease.
“The potential spread of COVID-19 in … prisons poses a significant threat to prisoners and staff who work in facilities and prisons, as well as the communities to which incarcerated persons will return,” Polis said in the order, signed March 25.
Polis said Friday during a briefing with reporters that the parole board, in deciding to release inmates like C.H., was attempting to keep outbreaks from happening in prisons.
“In making those decisions they are taking into consideration the safety of prison guards and others,” he said. “But no person who is a danger to society should be released early in any situation and of course nobody on that parole board thought that this person was going to do what they allegedly did.”
The Colorado Department of Corrections says C.H. had been eligible for parole since 2017. His mandatory release date was Aug. 22.
“They couldn’t have held that person much longer than they did,” Polis said.
He was serving a seven-year prison sentence stemming from a case in Arapahoe County.
9News first reported C.H.’s recent release from prison because of the coronavirus. The television news station says he pleaded guilty to felony robbery in 2016 after being charged two years earlier with aggravated robbery.
“I think it’s an incredible and horrible tragedy. It’s like an unforced error,” said Republican George Brauchler, the 18th Judicial District attorney, whose office prosecuted the case.
Brauchler said he is going to push for more answers from Polis’ administration and would like the Department of Corrections to stop releasing inmates early.
“I want to know how many other people out there have been paroled like this. Should be the public be concerned? Because I am,” Brauchler said.
Annie Skinner, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said in a written statement, said C.H. “was released due to special-needs parole criteria.”
“When looking at special-needs parole criteria, the Department of Corrections’ medical staff reviews offenders for risk factors related to COVID as documented by the Centers for Disease Control,” C.H. said in a written statement. “The clinical team reviews the inmate’s medical records to individually confirm the existence of conditions and their severity. The department also reviews information related to their crime of incarceration and behavior inside the facility.”
The corrections department then forwards a recommendation to the state’s parole board for review and the panel makes a decision.
“Nobody should be released simply because of COVID-19. Of course the parole board, in making individual evaluations, has a tough job that they do,” Polis said.
Denver city records show C.H. is being held at the downtown Denver jail without bond. He is facing 14 counts, including possession of a weapon by a previous offender, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, theft and attempted second-degree kidnapping.
A probable cause statement filed by police indicates investigators linked C.H. to the killing by using surveillance footage taken by police cameras. He was found in a nearby motel bathroom.
5. Jimmy Spencer from Alabama
A violent offender with a life sentence and an extensive criminal history, along with a history of violating parole, was released and allegedly went on to murder three people.
The homeless convict charged in the killing of three people in a Guntersville home – including a 7-year-old-boy – was a known violent offender just out of prison, and the state’s largest victims’ advocacy group is outraged that he was on the streets.
Janette Grantham, director of Victims of Crime and Leniency, on Wednesday lashed out at the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles for its handling of the case of Jimmy O’Neal Spencer.
Spencer, 52, is charged with capital murder in the July 13 deaths of Martha Dell Reliford, 65, Marie Kitchens Martin, 74, and Martin’s great-grandson, Colton Ryan Lee. Authorities said Spencer strangled and stabbed Martin before taking off with an undisclosed amount of cash. Lee, they said, died from blunt force trauma.
The boy and his great-grandmother were found dead that Friday at her Mulberry Street home. Reliford – also killed by blunt force trauma – was found dead in her home across the street the same night. Investigators said she was hit with the flat side of a hatchet, stabbed and also robbed.
According to court records and authorities, Spencer first went to prison in the early 1980s on a burglary conviction. In the years to come, he would be arrested again and again and ultimately sentenced to life. Those crimes all happened in Franklin County.
He escaped from prison in 1993 and was charged with more property crime crimes that took place while he was on the run. According to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, Spencer was granted parole in November 2017, and released from prison in January. From there, he went to a halfway house in Birmingham. Spencer then met a man from Marshall County and ended up in Guntersville in April.
Investigators said the convict was homeless – sleeping on park benches or in ditches and occasionally staying at local shelters.
“According to Alabama law, he is a violent offender and had a life sentence and a long criminal background. He had been paroled once before, and within months his parole was revoked because he committed a new crime,” Grantham said. “The last parole board denied his parole in 2013. Franklin County DA Joey Rushing sent a strong protest letter stating he was dangerous. A victim also sent a protest letter. These letters should have remained in his file for the current board to consider.”
“Why was he paroled four years later in 2017 by a different parole board? DA Rushing would have sent another strong protest letter if he had received his notice for the November hearing,” Grantham said.
She said VOCAL purchased a Board Action Sheet and learned Pardons and Parole Board Members Cliff Walker, chairman, and Terry Davis, who is no longer on the board, paroled Spencer to Life Tech – a six-month on-site transition course and both checked the “low to medium risk of re-offending” box for Spencer.
“If he was sent to Life Tech as stated, the earliest date he could have been released was in the May-June 2018 time frame. If he failed to complete Life Tech, he should have been returned to prison as his parole should have been revoked,” Grantham said. “Yet he was seen in January in the Marshall County area. How is that possible?”
Grantham also said every released inmate must have a qualified home plan and a support base before they are released. “Sleeping on a park bench is not a home plan,” she said. “In addition, every released inmate must also have employment lined up. Homeless is not a job plan.”
Spencer was arrested on June 15, 2018 in Boaz for possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, and attempting to elude a police officer. His bond was set at $3,000. “His parole should have been revoked,” Grantham said. “Yet a month later he was still free to murder three innocent victims.”
Officials at the Board of Pardons and Paroles didn’t immediately return to a request for comment on Grantham’s press release. She said she called the board last week with her questions and was told the Board had asked for an investigation on Spencer’s parole.
The state of Alabama will pay the maximum amount of damages allowed under law to the families of Jimmy O’Neal Spencer’s three alleged murder victims, Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Friday.
Spencer is charged with capital murder in the July 13, 2018 deaths of Martha Dell Reliford, 65, Marie Kitchens Martin, 74, and Martin’s great-grandson, Colton Ryan Lee, 7.
At the time of the murders, the homeless convict was a known violent offender just out of prison. The fact that he was out, and on the streets, outraged victims’ advocates. The families allege that the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles wrongfully paroled and failed to supervise Spencer, resulting in the deaths of the victims.
The settlement was issued before any lawsuits were filed. The families were awarded $1 million total – minus attorney fees – to be divided among them.
Authorities said Spencer strangled and stabbed Martin before taking off with an undisclosed amount of cash. Lee, they said, died from blunt force trauma.
The boy and his great-grandmother were found dead that Friday at her Mulberry Street home. Reliford – also killed by blunt force trauma – was found dead in her home across the street the same night. Investigators said she was hit with the flat side of a hatchet, stabbed and also robbed.
Marshall recused himself and was not a part of the settlement negotiations, having previously known two of the victims.
Prior to his release and subsequent murder spree, Marshall said, Spencer had lived a life of crime stretching across three decades, beginning in 1984 at the age of 19.
“Spencer was a career criminal convicted and imprisoned for numerous serious property and violent crimes, as well as for numerous disciplinary infractions in prison and for several successful escapes from prison,’’ according to Marshall’s press release. “On two separate occasions, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. In one case, Spencer attempted to burglarize an occupied home and, refusing to retreat, had to be shot by the homeowner.”
Despite all of this, Marshall said, Spencer was granted parole on November 2, 2017. Spencer was released to a homeless shelter in Birmingham where he was supposed to remain for six months; yet, after only three weeks, he left.
Spencer traveled to Guntersville, Alabama, where he had several run-ins with law enforcement and was charged for multiple violations of the law, including: traffic offenses, possession of drug paraphernalia, attempting to elude police, resisting arrest, and illegal possession of a firearm. “Nonetheless,” Marshall said, “his parole was not revoked.”
The three murders happened less than six months after he was released. He is currently awaiting trial in the Kilby Correctional Facility.
“Marie Martin, Colton Lee and Martha Reliford died horrifically and senselessly at the hands of a monster—Jimmy O’Neal Spencer.” Marshall said in Friday’s statement. “Ms. Reliford and Mrs. Martin, whom I knew personally, have been on my mind since July.”
“Every time I think of what they suffered through, I get angry. I am angry, certainly at Jimmy O’Neal Spencer, but I am also angry that a process designed to protect the public from deviant criminals like Spencer utterly failed them, as well as little Colton,’’ Marshall said. “Sadly, we know that these victims aren’t the only ones that have been failed by our broken system of pardons and paroles, and that is why I continue to advocate for much-needed legislative reforms.”
7. Kenneth McDuff from Texas
This was a long entry to write so I hope it benefits visitors to our website. To summarize, Kenneth McDuff was a psychopath who kidnapped three teenagers, one girl and two boys, in 1966. He raped the girl and killed all three of them. He was paroled in 1989, 23 years after the murders. He went on to kidnap, rape, and murder several women. His involvement in several murders post-release was confirmed, while in other cases, it is speculated. Note that many states that have banned JLWOP allow juvenile criminals to be sentenced to a maximum of 20 or 25 years to life. Some states such as Oregon and West Virginia allow juvenile criminals to be paroled after 15 years, regardless of their crimes. This is just another example, of why even decades in prison is not enough to keep society safe from some criminals.
As a youth, McDuff was highly antisocial and took pleasure in intimidating teachers and bullying classmates. In 1964, at age 17, he committed a series of burglaries. He confided in his brother that, during one burglary, he raped a woman, cut her throat and left her to die in a ditch. The victim survived, and ended up giving birth to McDuff’s child. Though the rape and attempted murder were never reported, McDuff was eventually caught and was sent to prison for burglary in 1965. The penalties totaled 52 years, but were assessed concurrently instead of consecutively. A parole board released McDuff in December 1965. Eight months later, he murdered three people.
McDuff made friends with a man named Roy Dale Green who was two years his junior. On August 6, 1966, the pair went on a hunt. They found three victims: 16-year-old Edna Sullivan; Edna’s boyfriend, 17-year-old Robert Brand; and Robert’s cousin, 15-year-old Mark Dunnam, who was visiting from California. McDuff approached the teens with a .38 pistol. He demanded the boys’ billfolds and then forced all three victims into the trunk of their 1955 Ford. Like many other murderers written about on this website, McDuff decided to kill the victims to eliminate them as witnesses. “They got a good look at my face,” he told Green. “I’ll have to kill them.”
McDuff drove the Ford, while Green followed in McDuff’s Dodge. They went down dark and narrow country roads and stopped in a field. McDuff opened the trunk and pulled Edna out, saying, “I want the young lady out.” He told Green to lock her in the trunk of the Dodge, which Green did. Robert and Mark were still in the trunk of the Ford, on their knees, begging for their lives. McDuff showed no mercy and shot them in their faces. He shot Robert twice and Mark three times, then lifted Mark by the hair and shot him again. McDuff and Green then drove away in the Dodge, with Edna in the trunk.
McDuff and Green stopped along a dirt road around 11 miles from where they murdered Robert and Mark. McDuff took Edna from the trunk, forced her to undress, and threw her into the back seat of the car where he repeatedly raped her. He raped the girl two or three times, made Green rape her, and then raped her again. McDuff then drove Green and Edna down a gravel road to another location. He took Edna to the front of the car and ordered her to sit down in the road. There, he choked her to death with part of a broomstick. McDuff and Green threw Edna’s body over the fence and went home.
The next day, Green confessed. He testified against McDuff at trial and helped get him convicted. The jury sentenced McDuff to death. In 1972, McDuff’s death sentence was overturned and he was sentenced to life in prison. In 1976, 10 years after the triple homicide, McDuff was eligible for parole. He applied several times and was denied. In 1981 he offered a 10,000 dollar bribe to a parole board member. He was tried and convicted for bribery. The jury could have sentenced him to life in prison under Texas’s Habitual Felon Act, which would have made him eligible for parole in 1992. But the judge gave him considerable latitude to tell the jury his own manipulative version of his criminal past. There were also technical misunderstandings, and the jury gave him two years, which he had already earned credit for while awaiting trial.
McDuff applied for parole several more times and was recommended for parole in 1988. However, the approval was rescinded after new information, which the board will not reveal, was received. In 1989 the parole board again voted to parole McDuff. This time the parole recommendation was not rescinded. Two years prior, a rule requiring the parole of 750 inmates a week had been established to prevent prison overcrowding. As explained by Texas Monthly:
That meant the fifteen members of the parole board (the number was elevated to eighteen in 1989) had to interview and study the files of at least 1,000 inmates every five working days. Old-timers like McDuff, convicts whose names came up year after year, weren’t even interviewed anymore but were lumped with similar inmates in special review groups. Their files—if board members bothered to study them at all—contained only the most basic and banal information, hardly anything to suggest the true nature of an inmate. By the time McDuff was paroled, eight of every ten parole applications were being approved, and the system was still falling behind. All the good risks for parole had been exhausted; the parole board was getting down to the bottom of the barrel. And then the bottom was lowered: Time was awarded so liberally that an inmate could get credit for serving one full year in just 22 days. In a prison system with a capacity of 60,000 inmates, more than 36,000 received paroles in 1989, the year Kenneth McDuff went free. The goal of the state became not to keep the streets safe but to keep the tap flowing and the federal courts at bay.
Within a couple days of McDuff’s release, a prostitute named Sarafia Parker was found beaten and strangled in a field. Within nine months of being released, in July 1990, McDuff was charged with making a terroristic threat, a misdemeanor, but nevertheless a crime sufficient enough to send him to prison for the rest of his life, due to the fact that it was committed while on parole. The crime involved McDuff chasing a teen down an alley with a knife threatening to kill him. McDuff was sent back to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. But the charge was dropped, as the witnesses were too scared to testify, and McDuff was dealt with by the parole board. McDuff was freed again. As explained by Texas Monthly:
What happened next was bureaucracy at its worst. The board had long considered the revocation and reinstatement process a waste of time and, for years, had delegated to its staff (known as hearings officers) the power to revoke and reinstate paroles, even though some lawyers believe that the practice is illegal. There was no hearing, no testimony, no advocacy of any kind. The board made no formal decision to reinstate McDuff’s parole. Some anonymous hearing officer simply decided that there was no reason to keep Kenneth McDuff locked up. On December 6, 1990, Kenneth McDuff went free again.
In the spring of 1991, McDuff began attending Texas State Technical College and moved into a dorm on campus in Waco. Starting then, several prostitutes in the Waco area went missing. More systemic failures allowed McDuff to continue committing crimes. In September 1991, 23-year-old business owner Cynthia Renee Gonzalez went missing and was later found dead with multiple gunshot wounds. McDuff’s involvement in Cynthia’s murder has never been proven, but it is believed that she was one of his victims. Police believe he abducted her from an Arlington car wash. Not long after Cynthia’s murder, McDuff abducted a prostitute named Brenda Thompson. As McDuff was stopped at a police checkpoint, Brenda, who was tied up in back, managed to kick the windshield. McDuff drove away and police chased him. He got away and went on to torture and murder Brenda. Her body was discovered in 1998. A couple days after Brenda’s murder, a woman named Regina Moore was seen kicking and screaming in McDuff’s pickup truck as it ran through a police checkpoint. The police looked McDuff up several days later and questioned him but nothing came of the incident. The body of Regina, a 17-year-old prostitute, was found in 1998. During his time at TSTC, McDuff also beat up and nearly blinded a TSTC student and threatened several others, but no one reported him to the police.
On December 29, 1991, McDuff and a man named Hank Worley abducted 28-year-old Colleen Reed from a car wash in Austin. McDuff grabbed the young woman by the throat, and held her up so that just her toes touched the ground. Like Edna, Mark and Robert had done, Colleen begged for her life. “Please, not me!,” she yelled. McDuff threw her into the back seat and had Worley sit in back to control her.
Later during the drive, McDuff and Worley pulled over and switched places. As Worley drove, McDuff stripped Colleen naked, stubbed out a cigarette between her legs, tied her hands behind her back, and raped her. The kidnappers switched places again and Worley raped Colleen. They then stopped on a dirt road and McDuff again raped Colleen. The young woman begged Worley to help her. “Please don’t let him hurt me anymore.” McDuff then grabbed her by the back of the neck, shoved her into the trunk of the car, and slammed it shut. When McDuff dropped Worley off that night, Worley asked what he was going to do with Colleen, to which McDuff said: “I’m gonna use her up.” This meant he would kill her. That’s what he did.
The murders continued. Valencia Kay Joshua, a prostitute, was last seen seen alive on the night of February 24, 1992, on the TSTC campus, looking for McDuff’s dorm. Sometime in the evening of March 1, 1992, McDuff vanished. That same night, less than a block away, Melissa Northup, 22, who was pregnant with her third child, was kidnapped from a convenience store where she was employed. Several weeks later, her body was found, bound and floating in a gravel pit in Dallas County. Not long after Melissa’s disappearance, police discovered the naked and severely decomposed body of Valencia in a shallow grave in a wooded area behind TSTC.
McDuff was convicted of Melisa’s murder in 1993 and was sentenced to death. In 1994 he was convicted of murdering Colleen and was again sentenced to death. He was executed in 1998.
There were many systemic failures in this case that illustrate the dangers of allowing some people to be released early. McDuff, a psychopathic career burglar, was paroled not even a year after his 1965 burglary sentence. He went on to brutally murder three teenagers. He received the death penalty for these murders but had his sentence commuted. NOVJM takes no position on the death penalty, and we are not going to say whether or not he should have been executed for the 1966 triple murders. But it is now apparent that he should never have been released from prison. Upon release, McDuff committed more crimes, and though he could have been sent back to prison for a 1990 assault, he was allowed to stay on the streets.
This was quite a long entry to write. But it was worth it. Kenneth McDuff is an example of a criminal who never should have been released from prison. The systemic failures that allowed him to continue his rampage of death are astounding. And unfortunately, the parole system is still broken, as many other dangerous felons have been paroled only to kill again. Given the problems with America’s parole system, it would be very dangerous to make every single juvenile criminal eligible for parole in only 15 or 20 years as some states have done.
Free to Kill by Texas Monthly
8. Texas couple murdered in home invasion robbery
Jenny and Bao Lam, both 61, were bound, robbed, and murdered during a home invasion in 2018. One suspect had served three years of a 30 year prison sentence. He was released early two months before allegedly murdering the couple. We are using initials of the suspects because there have been no convictions yet.
Investigators believe when Bao and Jenny Lam, both 61, came home Thursday night, they were “ambushed” by the suspects as they parked in the garage, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said…
Authorities said the suspects “forced” the victims into their home, “where they were bound, robbed, and murdered.”
The suspects allegedly fled in the Lams’ car before returning and going into the house a few hours later, authorities said. Over the course of those few days, the suspects likely went back into the house several times, the sheriff’s office said.
The house appeared to be ransacked with firearms and other valuables were missing, the sheriff’s office said.
The victims’ son, who went to check on his parents Saturday night after not hearing from them since Thursday, called police from the home, the sheriff’s office said. When deputies went inside, authorities said they found the Lams bound and shot to death.
K.K. is one of three suspects charged with murdering Bao and Jenny Lam.
Investigators say the suspects ambushed the Lams, tortured them and killed them execution style. They believe robbery was the motive.
Less than two months before this ruthless crime was committed, K.K. was in prison. He was serving a 30-year sentence for burglary, a weapons charge and engaging in organized criminal activity.
Of that 30-year sentence, he served just three years and was released with supervised parole.
Victim’s advocate Andy Kahan was outraged. He said he can’t believe the suspect was able to serve such a short sentence.
We reached out to the Parole Board to ask them about the short sentence and they said he was approved for parole for the following reasons:
- He maintained a satisfactory institutional adjustment.
- He completed prison programs, activities and treatments.
- It was his first incarceration and he would remain under a period of supervision.
Meanwhile, neighbors in Northgate Forest say they are mourning the loss of a couple that gave so much to the community.
K.K. 23, is the fourth parolee in just the last two years that would later be charged in someone’s death soon after they were freed.
“Which begs the million-dollar question, how many others are out there?,” asked Mayor’s Crime Victims Office advocate Andy Kahan.
In 2013, K.K. got his first big break after pleading guilty to a felony charge of engaging in organized criminal activity. He was sentenced to deferred adjudication, a form of probation that when done successfully, would mean K.K. would have no final conviction.
“Which in less than a year, he violated his probation with not one but two felony convictions,” said Kahan.
In 2014, K.K.pleaded guilty to burglary.
“You had a total of 60 years in sentences handed down,” added Kahan. Those sentences would run concurrently, meaning K.K. was supposed to spend 30 years in prison. But just two months ago, he was paroled. He only served one tenth of his sentence.
“He kept sending signals that he was not going to be a productive member of society,” said Kahan…
If the parole board would have made Kendrick serve just one fourth of his sentence, he would be charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of Bao and Jenny Lam.
“I think anyone with half a brain can easily speculate none of this would have happened,” said Kahan.
9. Kiara Taylor from Texas
Taylor was sentenced to seven years in prison for burglary but was paroled after six months. He went on to murder 19-year-old Peter Mielke during a robbery.
A man who shot and killed an employee at a pizzeria in 2016 was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.
Kiara Taylor, 26, pleaded guilty Thursday to the murder of 19-year-old Peter Mielke during a robbery at Reginelli’s Pizzeria in Bellaire.
He shot Mielke 15 times when Mielke could not get the cash register open fast enough during an attempted robbery.
Taylor’s sister, Tarrel, told police her brother confessed the crime to her.
Read more about the murder at Kiara Taylor v. The State of Texas Appeal from 209th District Court of Harris County
From Accused pizzeria killer was jailed twice for violating parole by the Houston Chronicle
Kiara Taylor got out of jail Feb. 18 and just three days later walked into a Bellaire pizzeria and allegedly gunned down a teenage employee during an armed robbery.
Taylor had just finished up a three-month stint behind bars for violating his parole. That was the second time he had been jailed for parole violations after being released less than three years into a seven-year sentence he received for a felony firearms arrest in 2010.
New information surfaced Friday regarding the man charged in the death of Peter Mielke, an innocent 19-year-old killed during a Bellaire pizzeria robbery.
We were first told that Kiara Taylor had gotten out of prison days before the Feb. 21 murder. Friday, however, a different story surfaced that Taylor wasn’t in prison, but a parole violator facility or an ISF.
Prosecutors have little doubt that Taylor killed Mielke, but is there blame to share? Andy Kahan, a victim advocate with the city of Houston, believes so.
“To me, this is just a senseless tragedy that was so utterly preventable,” said Kahan. “This guy repeatedly violated the law time and time and time again.”
In 2011, Taylor was sentenced to seven years in prison for burglary and having a gun, but only served six months before he was let out on parole. While on parole, Taylor was convicted of three other crimes within two years and his parole was never revoked.
“The parole board elected not to revoke his parole. They sent him to what’s called a parole violator facility,” Kahan said.
Although inmates at a parole violator facility are locked up, it’s not prison. They are short-term in-custody facilities designed to help convicts figure out why they commit crimes in the first place.
“Generally you spend 60- 90 days there,” Kahan said, adding Taylor was in an ISF days before Mielke was murdered and was released, once again, for the third time, back on parole from his 2011 conviction.
We reached out to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and asked why Taylor’s bond was never revoked, but they have not responded.
“Time and time again he is repeatedly punted back into society to re-offend again and, of course, now he’s the alleged murderer,” Kahan said. “Peter’s mother would have never been placed in the situation that she’s in now if the system had been functioning properly.”
Kiara Taylor, 27, is charged with Mielke’s murder. At the time of his arrest, Taylor was on parole.
“I had to go back to that word, ‘brutally,’ and that’s where the fight began,” Dana Mielke said.
State records show Taylor went to prison in 2010 for felon in possession of a weapon. Prior to the conviction, Taylor had been convicted of unauthorized use of a vehicle and attempted escape. Taylor got out of prison on the weapons charge in less than three years and was supposed to be on parole until October of 2017.
Since his release, Taylor racked up more convictions. In 2013, Taylor was convicted of burglarizing two buildings and failure to identify himself to a peace officer. He was sentenced to a year in state jail.
However, Taylor’s parole was not revoked, even though a parole officer noted, “Offender is a threat to public safety,” in a violation report, and a hearing officer recommended revocation. Revoking Taylor’s parole could have sent him back to prison to finish the remainder of his sentence on the weapons charge.
After his release from state jail, Taylor was sent to an Intermediate Sanction Facility (ISF) and then a halfway house. State records show Taylor ran away from the halfway house until his arrest in 2015 on charges of evading arrest.
Again, Taylor’s parole was not revoked. Taylor was sentenced to 45 days in jail on the evading charge and time in an ISF after his release. Within days of leaving the ISF, Peter Mielke was shot and killed.
“You keep giving him chances. Like, what else do you need?” Dana Mielke said. “Five minutes, two minutes, just look at the case. Really, just look at it.”
State records show Taylor’s lack of parole revocation due to new convictions is not isolated. Data from the state since fiscal year 2010 shows that an average of more than 6,300 parolees each year are convicted of new crimes, yet their parole is not revoked.
“It simply defies logic,” said victims’ rights advocate Andy Kahan.
10. Leroy Stoots from Texas
According to Texas’s Fourteenth Court of Appeals
Stoots murdered 31-year-old Kumba “Marie” Sesay in 2016. Stoots, who had been in a romantic relationship with the victim, shot her in the head and left her in a ditch. Kumba had planned to leave Stoots the weekend he murdered her.
Stoots had served 20 years of a 45 year sentence for a murder he committed in 1992. He was released early by a parole board in 2012.
“Cold, calculating, mean,” said special prosecutor Julian Ramirez when asked to describe 42-year-old Leroy Stoots.
Stoots showed just how cold and cruel he could be when he murdered his first victim. It was in broad daylight when prosecutors say Stoots walked up and shot a man in the chest.
“And he was pulled away by bystanders and after they had him in control he ran back up to the person he shot who was now on the ground and shot him some more,” Ramirez said.
In 1992, Stoots got a 45-year sentence for the man’s murder.
“The mother of the first victim had protested early release on parole,” said Ramirez. “The prosecutors’ office had protested early release on parole.”
And prison records indicate Stoots was anything but a model prisoner.
“He had gotten into trouble while he was in prison,” said the special prosecutor.
But the parole board ignored all of that and released Stoots in 2012.
“Which means he did less than half of his sentence,” said crime victims advocate Andy Kahan.
Stoots made it clear.
He wasn’t about to abide by the rules of his early release.
“It was pretty obvious when you get up to nine violations, nine warrants out for your arrest,” Kahan said.
Still the parole board decided Stoots didn’t need to go back to prison even after he picked up a new felony conviction.
“If he had been Kumba would still be alive,” Ramirez said. “It’s a tragedy there’s no reason for it.”
31-year-old Kumba Sesay was an on-line personality for Style Radio. She had no idea about Leroy Stoots’ criminal past or his jealous bone. He was just sentenced to life for killing her. Hopefully the parole board is paying attention.
“I would hope that they would take a good look at the story you’re going to air and basically have a come to Jesus meeting and say you know what we really need to start clamping down on parolees who get new convictions,” Kahan said.
Our series of only on Fox reports prompted State Representative Sarah Davis to file House Bill 2468 which would force the parole board to take a good hard look at their decision making. The bill passed the House but failed to pick up speed in the Senate. Davis says she’s disappointed that she hasn’t heard from the Governor after asking him to consider her parole bill during the special session.
11. Michael Susberry from Texas
In 2017 Susberry murdered 79-year-old Janel Bernard in her Headwig Village home. Janel, who had employed Susberry’s mother as a housekeeper, let him into her home, only to be robbed and beaten and stabbed to death by the 55-year-old parolee. Susberry had been sentenced to life in prison in 1985 for aggravated robbery and was paroled after 20 years. In 2015 he was convicted of aggravated assault. He spent one year in jail. His parole was not revoked. Read more here.
Michael Susberry will spend decades behind bars for the brutal murder of a 79-year-old Hedwig Village woman.
Janiel Bernard, 79, was found beaten and stabbed inside her home in July 2017.
Susberry knew Bernard through his mother, Moteel Susberry, who had been her housekeeper for more than 50 years. Bernard had even given her a car and continued to pay her once retired.
Susberry admitted to detectives that he headbutted Bernard and stabbed her.
Timesha Wilson, 22, has also been charged in connection with the crime. Investigators say she discussed a plan with Susberry to rob Bernard of her money and jewelry but says she didn’t commit the murder.
In an exclusive jailhouse interview with ABC13, Susberry wouldn’t answer specific questions about the crime, saying he doesn’t remember everything. He claims both he and Wilson were on drugs during the crime.
Court records show Susberry was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Houston’s victims advocate blasted the state’s parole board Wednesday in the wake of revelations that a man accused in the brutal fatal stabbing of a 79-year-old woman in Hedwig Village was free on parole even after being convicted of a violent crime.
“Such a tragedy that is utterly preventable,” said Andy Kahan, victims advocate for the city of Houston. “This has to do with the fact that someone on parole gets a new conviction and the parole board makes a decision not to send them back to prison.”
Michael Glen Susberry is the third alleged killer arrested in the past year while on parole despite having ensuing convictions, said Kahan.
Susberry, 55, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of capital murder, accused of robbing and stabbing 79-year-old Janeil Bernard in her home earlier this month. Susberry knew Bernard well, investigators said. His mother is her former housekeeper.
Susberry is also a convicted armed robber who went to prison in June 1985 on a life sentence and was paroled in June 2004.
After being freed on parole, Susberry was arrested in 2015 for threatening a family member with a knife. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense of assault but was not not sent back to prison for violating his parole, Kahan said.
12. Brian Golsby from Ohio
A robber, kidnapper, and rapist was given concurrent prison terms and released early due to jail time credit. He then went on a massive crime spree, committing several robberies. He ultimately escalated his conduct to rape and murder.
Golsby is a violent career criminal who raped and murdered Ohio State University student Reagan Tokes during a 2017 crime spree. In 2010 Golsby kidnapped a woman and her two-year-old son. He robbed and orally raped the woman, who as eight months pregnant. Because the victim was afraid to testify, Golsby pleaded down to robbery and attempted rape. He was given two six year sentences to be served concurrently. He continued his violent behavior in prison, committing 52 infractions. He received jail time credit for the six months he had spent in jail prior to his plea and was released from prison on parole after five and a half years. Upon release, he went on a crime spree, committing seven robberies–one of those robberies turned into a murder. On the night of February 8, 2017, the parolee kidnapped 21-year-old Reagan as she left her job in downtown Columbus. He forced her to drive to several ATMs to withdraw money. He also raped her. Golsby decided to murder Reagan to prevent her from reporting the crimes he had committed against her. Reagan begged for her life, saying “all I want to do is live.” Golsby forced her to drive to a metro park where he made her park the car and undress. He marched her into a field and then shot her twice in the head.
There were multiple events that allowed this criminal to murder Reagan. The six-year sentence Golsby received for the 2010 kidnappings and rapes was very light when compared to the nature of the crimes. Had he been sentenced to consecutive prison terms, he would still be in prison to this day and never would have found Reagan on that dark winter night. Even after getting the six-year sentence, he didn’t have to be paroled early for jail time credit, considering his bad behavior.
13. Hawaii man allegedly commits murder after being released early due to COVID-19
We are using the suspect’s initials.
From Roth: Jail releases possibly more dangerous than outbreak by the Hawaii Tribune Herald
Letters by the Big Island’s prosecutor and a pair of Oahu legislators object to the manner in which inmates are being released pursuant to a state Supreme Court order that seeks to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in Hawaii’s jails and prisons.
A May 12 letter by Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth to Daniel R. Foley, a retired appeals judge tasked by the high court to oversee the reduction in inmate population in Hawaii’s historically crowded correctional facilities, said his office is “very concerned about defendants who are repeat offenders, who after release, committed more crimes in the community.”
The letter said some of the offenders released “did not fit into the original group of offenders sought to be released” by a petition to the Supreme Court by the state Office of the Public Defender.
Roth wrote violent offenders “have been released over by the court(s) over state’s objections” and that some defendants “have been rearrested twice in one week.”
He said those defendants “have no incentive to change their behavior because the pattern established for them now is they will be released over state objections.”
According to Roth, those releases have “created a tipping point … where the release of dangerous and repeat offenders is more dangerous than the possibility of an outbreak overwhelming our care system.”
And a May 13 letter to Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald from Oahu Reps. Gene Ward and Bob McDermott, both Republicans, called for the Supreme Court to “please discontinue the early releases” under the Public Defender’s petition. The legislators added the reason for the Supreme Court’s order “is not valid since there has not been a single case of COVID-19 in any of the state’s correctional facilities.”
As of Monday, Hawaii Community Correctional Center reports an inmate population of 241, a slight uptick from the 235 reported on April 30. That’s 35 inmates more than the design capacity of 206 targeted by the Supreme Court’s mandate, but a reduction of 154 inmates from March 2, when a population of 395 was reported.
More than 800 inmates have been released statewide since the court order.
“There has been no assurance that these offenders are non-violent, which is evident by the recent murder committed, allegedly by a newly released prisoner,” the lawmakers wrote, an apparent reference to 20-year-old D.P.B, accused of a May 2 fatal stabbing in Aiea, Oahu. According to Hawaii News Now, Baang had been released by a judge on charges of harassment and property damage due to COVID-19 housing recommendations.
14. David Maust
Maust killed a total of five victims after being given early release several times.
Maust had a long history of disturbing violent behavior. At age nine, he tried to set fire to his brother’s bed. Later that year, he tried to drown his brother by pinning him underwater.
In 1974, while stationed in Germany, Maust murdered 13-year-old James McClister. He lured him into the woods and beat him with his fists and a board. Maust was court-martialed and convicted of manslaughter and larceny and sentenced to four years at Fort Leavenworth. He was released in 1977. In 1979, in Chicago, he allegedly stabbed and attempted to murder his friend as he slept. He was found not guilty in 1980.
In August 1981 Maust went to a boys home in Chicago looking to find and kill the man who had molested him. Instead, he found 15-year-old Donald Jones. He lured Donald into his car, took him to a quarry and stabbed him in the stomach and drowned him.
After murdering Donald, Maust fled to Texas and attacked and stabbed a 14-year-old boy. He was sentenced to five years in prison for the crime. In 1982 he was extradited to Illinois for the murder of Donald. He spent over a decade awaiting disposition of the murder charge. Much of that time was spent in IL mental health facilities after findings that he was unfit to stand trial.
In May 1994, Maust pleaded guilty to the murder of Donald and was sentenced to 35 years in the Illinois Department of Correction. He served 17 years of that sentence, counting the credit he got for the time spent in jail and psychiatric wards prior to the guilty plea. He was released in 1999.
In 2001 Maust lured acquaintance Anthony Majzer to his apartment, promising him that they were taking a trip to Wyoming for work. Maust got Anthony drunk and tried to kill him by hitting him with a metal pipe. Anthony declined to press charges.
Maust murdered James Raganyi, 16, Michael Dennis, 13, and Nick James, 19 in Hammond, Indiana in 2003. The victims’ bodies were found in concrete in Maust’s basement. Maust pleaded guilty to the murders in 2005.
Diary uncovers life of rage, guilt by the Chicago Tribune
15. Arthur J. Bomar Jr.
Bomar raped and murdered 22-year-old Aimee Willard in 1996. Bomar had killed Larry Carrier in Las Vegas following a dispute over a parking space in 1978. He was paroled in 1990. Bomar, who is suspected in another murder, was convicted of murdering Aimee and is now on death row. We are offering this graphic description from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to illustrate the disastrous consequences of releasing Bomer early.
A Nevada parole department official has told a Pennsylvania Senate committee that his office was ready to bring a paroled murderer back to Nevada after he was accused seven years ago of assaulting a woman in Willow Grove, Pa.
Reyn Johnson, head of the warrants unit of the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation, told the judiciary panel reviewing the handling of interstate parole matters that a flight had been booked to bring Arthur Bomar, 38, back to prison here.
However, Johnson said, those plans were canceled after the woman died of unrelated causes and charges were dropped. Bomar instead wound up spending seven months behind bars in Pennsylvania in connection with that 1990 assault.
“We no longer had much of a violation,” Johnson told the Senate panel that met in Norristown last week.
Bomar, who in 1978 killed a man in Las Vegas following a dispute over a parking space, was charged with murder earlier this month in the June 1996 death of a 22-year-old suburban college student.
Investigators said the student was beaten to death on a highway ramp, and her body was dumped in a North Philadelphia vacant lot.
Charges filed against Bomar include murder, kidnapping, rape and abuse of a corpse.
After his arraignment earlier this month, he denied killing Aimee Willard, a George Mason University star lacrosse and soccer player. Bomar said prosecutors targeted him because he is black.
Bomar was en route today to a Delaware County jail west of Philadelphia to await a preliminary hearing.
The incident is the latest in a long line of battles Bomar has had within the legal system in two states. At age 19, Bomar got into an argument with then-27-year-old Larry Carrier in front of Bomar’s apartment at 150 Hoover Ave., in the predawn hours of July 25, 1978.
Police said Carrier was killed by a single gunshot wound. Bomar was convicted of murder and spent 11 years in prison, including time that was added on for a felony conviction of assaulting another inmate.
After being paroled in 1990 from the original five years-to-life sentence, Bomar was allowed to go to Pennsylvania because he had relatives — his parents, with whom he lived for a while — and a job waiting for him.
After five months of freedom, Bomar was back behind bars, charged in November 1990 Willow Grove assault. Over the next seven years, Bomar was arrested four more times and went through five parole agents.
After an assault in 1993, Bomar was given probation, which was served under the supervision of Pennsylvania parole authorities.
In November and December of 1996, he was arrested on theft charges. It was at that point that Bomar reportedly stopped seeing his parole officer. Nevada officials then filed a retainer warrant, which meant that if police captured Bomar he would not be allowed to make bail or otherwise be released.
Authorities began to suspect Bomar in the Willard killing after a young woman reported that someone hit her car on Interstate 95 early on May 29 and urged her to pull over — the same tactic police believe Willard’s killer used. The woman, however, refused to stop and gave the license number to police.
In June, Bomar, a resident of Huntingdon, Pa., was caught trying to break into an apartment in Lower Merion, Pa. Until Tuesday, Bomar had been serving his burglary sentence at a state prison in Camp Hill, Pa.
“A judge signed an order yesterday moving him to Delaware County so he could be closer to his attorney,” prison spokesman Ben Livingood said.
Investigators have been building what appears to be a strong case against Bomar.
According to an affidavit, sperm taken from Willard’s body matched Bomar’s DNA. Also, the tires of the car he was driving were the same make as those apparently used by the killer. And raised ridges on his car’s oil pan match markings on Willard’s body, the court document says.
Authorities also consider Bomar a suspect in the disappearance of a North Philadelphia woman last March. When Bomar was arrested, he had been driving the car belonging to the missing woman, Maria Cabuenos, 25, a lab technician.
Police found blood in the trunk of the car. DNA tests have confirmed it was Cabuenos’ blood, authorities said.
Bomar has not been charged in Cabuenos’ disappearance.
Willard, a policeman’s daughter, had spent the evening before she was killed drinking with friends at Smokey Joe’s bar, police said.
Her car was found on an Interstate 476 exit ramp. Her nude body was discovered two days later several miles from her vehicle.
Police said Bomar has been known to frequent Smokey Joe’s and a tavern near the lot where Willard’s body was found. Police also said that Bomar’s wife, Joyce, said he left their home on June 19 and did not speak with her until after the slaying.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS and Philadelphia Inquirer contributed to this report.
CONVICTED KILLER ALSO SUSPECTED IN DISAPPEARANCE by the Washington Post
A paroled murderer charged in the 1996 death of a George Mason University student also is a suspect in the disappearance of a woman whose skeletal remains were found in a rural area outside Philadelphia.
The remains of Maria Cabuenos, who had been missing since March, were found by a man walking his dog and later identified through dental records, District Attorney Alan M. Rubenstein said yesterday.
He said Arthur Bomar, charged last month in the slaying of GMU student Aimee Willard, has been a suspect in Cabuenos’s disappearance since his arrest in June on a burglary charge.
Bomar was driving Cabuenos’s car at the time of the arrest, and tests showed that bloodstains found in the car were hers, authorities said. Bomar told police he bought the car from a stranger in Philadelphia.
Bomar, 38, has not been charged in Cabuenos’s death, but Rubenstein said the investigation will intensify.
Bomar is in jail in Delaware County, just west of Philadelphia, charged in the June 1996 death of Willard, 22. The soccer and lacrosse player at George Mason had been on her way home early June 20 after spending an evening with friends when she disappeared. Her car was discovered on an interstate exit with the driver’s door open. Her body was found hours later on a trash-strewn lot in Philadelphia. She had been beaten to death.
Bomar was charged last month with murder, kidnapping, rape and abuse of a corpse in Willard’s death. He was on parole from a Nevada murder conviction at the time of her slaying. He was hospitalized Tuesday after Delaware County Prison guards found him trying to strangle himself with a bed sheet. He was returned to the prison on Friday.
The evidence presented at trial established the following: At approximately 10:30 p.m. on the evening of June 19, 1996, the victim, 22-year-old Aimee Willard, met several of her high school friends at a bar located on Lancaster Avenue in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Later that night, at approximately 1:25 a.m., Ms. Willard left the bar alone. She would not make it home.
At approximately 2:00 a.m., on June 20, 1996, the victim’s car, a blue Honda Civic, was discovered on the southbound off-ramp of the Springfield-Lima Exit of Interstate 476 in Delaware County. The car’s engine was still running, the driver’s side door was open, the radio was playing and the interior lights and headlights were on. There was a rough abrasion on the back bumper of the victim’s car. There was a pool of blood on the ground in front of the vehicle with drops of blood leading away from it. A tire iron was located near the pool of blood. Later that morning, police discovered a pair of sneakers and a pair of female underpants with a sanitary pad near the abandoned car. The sneakers were later identified as belonging to the victim and the underpants were later identified as the size worn by the victim. Hairs found on the sanitary pad were consistent with the pubic hairs of the victim. The police also obtained tire impressions from the scene.
At approximately 5:00 p.m., on June 20, 1996, Aimee Willard’s body was found naked, positioned face down, with two plastic bags covering her head, in a vacant lot at 16th Street and Indiana Avenue in Philadelphia. The victim’s injuries included multiple blunt force injuries to her head, brain and face; an abraded contusion on her left shoulder and upper chest; a rectangular shaped contusion beneath her left breast; a patterned, angular thermal injury resembling a flower petal on her right lower chest and upper abdomen; numerous fractures in her neck; bruises on her left and right thighs; and defensive wounds on her left and right forearms. There was intact degenerate sperm found in the victim’s vaginal cavity. In addition, a tree branch had been forced into her vagina. There was no blood surrounding or beneath the body or leading up to or away from the body, indicating that the victim was not killed at the site but rather had been killed elsewhere and then moved to this location.
*841 Several hours after the discovery of Aimee Willard’s body, at approximately 11:25 p.m., on June 20, 1996, appellant was coincidentally stopped by the police at the intersection of 20th Street and Erie Avenue in Philadelphia, eight blocks from where the victim’s body had been found. Appellant was driving a green 1993 Ford Escort. The police did not arrest appellant at that time.
Nearly a year later, on June 5, 1997, appellant was arrested in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, on an outstanding warrant for violating his parole from a conviction for second degree murder that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada, and for an unrelated criminal trespass. That evening, investigators from the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID) questioned appellant concerning the Willard murder. Appellant told the investigators, among other things, that he drove a 1993 Ford Escort until March of 1997, that he had been to the same bar that the victim had been to on the night of June 19, 1996, previously with a former girlfriend, and that he routinely traveled on Interstate 476.
On July 10, 1997, two Pennsylvania State Police troopers met with appellant’s then-girlfriend, Mary Rumer. Rumer told the troopers that appellant had confessed to her that he murdered Aimee Willard. She told police that appellant related the following events to her: Appellant observed Aimee leave the bar, get into her car, and begin to drive away. He followed in his own car. Appellant stopped Aimee’s car on Interstate 476 and flashed a fake police badge. When Aimee asked why she was being stopped, appellant told her that she was swerving on the road. Aimee then became angry, at which point appellant punched her, knocking her unconscious. After placing the victim in his car, appellant drove to an abandoned building. Appellant took the victim’s clothes, placed them in a trash bag and threw them away. Appellant hit the victim’s head with a hard object and killed her. He also admitted raping the victim to Rumer.
Rumer also told the troopers that appellant had shown her the location on Interstate 476 where Aimee Willard’s car was abandoned as well as the vacant lot where her body was recovered.
On July 11, 1997, the police conducted a search of appellant’s 1993 Ford Escort pursuant to a search warrant. The police seized and removed the following articles: the left front tire of the vehicle, a Firestone FR440 P17570R13; the oil pan from the undercarriage of the vehicle; and the right front door panel, which contained several brownish spots that later tested positive for blood. The tire taken from appellant’s car was consistent in tread design, size, and wear pattern with the tire impressions taken from the area where the victim’s car was found abandoned. The repeating cross-rectangle shape features, the vertical lines, and the machined edge present on the oil pan taken from appellant’s vehicle matched the pattern injury on the right side of the victim’s body. Most significantly, deoxyribonucleic acid (“DNA”) testing of the bloodstains on the door panel indicated that Aimee Willard was a contributor to the stains.
On July 13, 1997, the police executed a search warrant for samples of appellant’s blood. DNA testing of the blood samples established that appellant’s DNA profile matched the DNA profile of the male fraction developed from vaginal swabs taken from Aimee Willard. There was but a one in 500 million chance that someone other than appellant was the source of the genetic material taken from the victim.
Also in July of 1997, David O’Donald, appellant’s ex-brother-in-law, who was incarcerated in a federal prison for unrelated *842 offenses, met with law enforcement officials to offer his assistance in the ongoing investigation of appellant’s involvement in the Willard murder. Pursuant to those discussions, O’Donald was transferred to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility where appellant was being held. O’Donald was placed on the same cellblock as appellant for approximately two weeks in July. On July 17, 1997, while appellant was in O’Donald’s cell, appellant told him, “if I had disposed of the body, there would be no problem,” and “no body, no Grand Jury indictment.” In addition, appellant stated that, “if everyone does what I tell them, I’ll be alright.” Later that day, while O’Donald was in appellant’s cell, appellant stated, “I grabbed the bitch and she said please don’t do this.” He told O’Donald that he then said to the victim, “I’ll do whatever the fuck I want, just shut up,” to which she replied, “just don’t kill me, I’ll do anything.” Appellant told O’Donald that at that point, “we did whatever we wanted with her, she did whatever we told, and when we were done, I almost took her head off, and we crammed a tree branch up her cunt.”
The foregoing physical, confessional, scientific and circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly supports the jury’s finding that Aimee Willard was unlawfully killed, that appellant is the person who committed this slaying, that he acted with specific intent to kill, and that the killing was done with premeditation and deliberation.
The facts underlying Appellant’s conviction and death sentence have been set forth at length by this Court in Appellant’s direct capital appeal. Commonwealth v. Bomar, 573 Pa. 426, 826 A.2d 831 (Pa.2003) (“Bomar I ”). A brief recitation of the facts is necessary, however, to provide context for Appellant’s collateral challenge to his conviction and sentence in the instant appeal.
The evidence adduced at trial, and summarized in Bomar I, established that, on the night of June 19, 1996, 22–year–old Aimee Willard (“the victim”) was socializing with several of her friends at a bar located on Lancaster Avenue in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The victim left the bar alone at approximately 1:25 a.m. the following morning, and her blue Honda Civic was discovered shortly thereafter on the southbound off-ramp of the Springfield–Lima exit of Interstate 476 in Delaware County at approximately 2:00 a.m. No one was found inside the vehicle, but the driver’s side door was open, the engine was running, and the interior lights and headlights were still on. A pool of blood was discovered in front of the vehicle, along with a tire iron, the victim’s sneakers, and a pair of womens’ underwear lined with a sanitary pad containing pubic hairs matching those of the victim.
Later that day, the victim’s naked body was found face down in a vacant lot at 16th Street and Indiana Avenue in Philadelphia, with two plastic bags covering her head and a tree branch forced into her vagina. The victim sustained multiple blunt force injuries to her head, brain, and face, as well as various other contusions, fractures, and defensive wounds throughout her body. An intact, degenerate sperm was also recovered from the victim’s vaginal cavity, and tire impressions were obtained from the scene.
The victim’s murder remained unsolved for nearly a year, until June 5, 1997, when Appellant was arrested on an outstanding warrant for a parole violation from a prior second-degree murder conviction in Las Vegas, Nevada. Following his arrest, investigators questioned Appellant regarding the victim’s murder, and he stated, inter alia, that he had been at the same bar as the victim on the night of her murder; that he drove a 1993 Ford Escort until March 1997 (the tires of which were later determined to match tire impressions taken from the murder scene); and that he routinely traveled on Interstate 476.
On July 10, 1997, Appellant’s then-girlfriend, Mary Rumer, reported to state police that Appellant confessed to her that he murdered the victim, stating that Appellant told her that he watched the victim leave the bar and get into her car, and followed her in his car, until he stopped her on Interstate 476, flashing a fake police badge. Rumer recounted that Appellant told her that, after he approached the vehicle, he knocked the victim unconscious, placed her in his car, and drove her to an abandoned building, where he removed the victim’s clothes and hit her in the head with a hard object, killing her. Appellant also admitted to Rumer that he raped the victim, and he later showed Rumer the location on Interstate 476 where the victim’s car had been abandoned, as well as the vacant lot where the victim’s body was found.
Forensic evidence taken from Appellant’s vehicle and the crime scene corroborated Rumer’s story and further linked Appellant to the murder. Specifically, blood was recovered from the right front door panel of Appellant’s Ford Escort, which matched the victim’s DNA; the oil pan from the vehicle matched the pattern of a contusion on the right side of the victim’s body; and, as noted, the tires on Appellant’s vehicle were consistent with the tire patterns taken from the murder scene. DNA testing also established that Appellant’s DNA profile matched the sperm recovered from the victim’s vagina.
Additionally, while police were investigating Appellant’s involvement in the murder, David O’Donald, Appellant’s ex-brother in law, who was incarcerated in federal prison for unrelated offenses, offered to assist police with their investigation. Police transferred O’Donald to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, where Appellant was held, for two weeks in July 1997, and placed him on Appellant’s cellblock to serve as a listening post. On July 17, Appellant made several incriminating statements to O’Donald, including, inter alia, “we did whatever we wanted with her, she did whatever we told, and when we were done, I almost took her head off, and we crammed a tree branch up her cunt.” Id. at 842. Quincy Jamal Williams, another inmate incarcerated with Appellant in Montgomery County, also reported to police that Appellant confessed to murdering the victim.
16. Howard Allen
In 1974, at age 24, Allen beat Opal Cooper, 85, to death during a home invasion robbery. He was sentenced to two to 21 years in an Indiana State Prison. He was paroled in 1985. In 1987 he went on a crime spree, committing several assaults against elderly people. One of those attacks turned into a murder. On July 14, 1987, Allen invaded the home of Ernestine Griffin, 73, and beat and stabbed her to death.
Our earlier opinion in this matter describes in detail the crimes of which Allen was convicted. See Allen v. State, 686 N.E.2d 760, 766 (Ind. 1997). In brief, Allen murdered 74-year-old Ernestine Griffin in her Indianapolis home. Police determined that Griffin had been killed by a combination of a knife wound to her chest and a blow to her head. On a kitchen counter, police found a piece of paper with Allen’s name and phone number on it. A neighbor of Griffin’s informed police that Allen had inquired with Griffin about a car that the neighbor had for sale. Police later discovered Griffin’s camera at the carwash where Allen worked. After extensive questioning, Allen admitted to the police that he had struck Griffin, but denied killing her.
Allen was charged with Murder, See footnote Felony Murder, See footnote and Robbery. See footnote A jury convicted Allen on all three charges and recommended a sentence of death. The trial court sentenced Allen to death on August 30, 1988.
August 1974, at age 24, Allen invaded the home of 85 year old, Opal Cooper, beating her to death in the course of a robbery. Allen was convicted of a reduced charge of manslaughter and received 2-21 years in an Indiana State Prison. He was paroled in January 1985, in which he returned to his hometown and found a job.
On May 18, 1987, a 73 year old woman narrowly escaped death when a man attacked her in her home. Only two days later, 87 year old, Laverne Hale, was attacked in a similar fashion and died of her injuries on May 29, 1987.
On July 14, 1987, 73 year old, Ernestine Griffin, was murdered in her home. She was stabbed 8 times with a 10 inch butcher knife and there was evidence of blunt force trauma from a kitchen appliance. Griffin’s family members took a survey of the home and the conclusion was that the killer only escaped with 15 dollars and a camera.
The case finally broke when witnesses places Allen at the scene of the crime which lead to the indictment on charges of burglary, battery, and unlawful confinement for the May 18 attack. He was also charged with the murder of Ernestine Griffin.
The police were not finished with Allen, he became their suspect for eleven other cases involving robbery or assault of elderly victims. In Spring, 1988, Allen was convicted of burglary and felony battery for the May 18 assault. He was sentenced to 88 years in prison.
On June 11, 1988, Allen was convicted on murder and robbery in the slaying of Ernestine Griffin and was sentenced to Capital Punishment. The aggravated circumstances were robbery. Meanwhile, the mitigating circumstances included; dysfunctional family, education, and social environment, parents separated and divorced mental retardation, low intelligence, and mental instability. Allen has been on death row since August, 8, 1988.
There are many more . . .this is just a sample . . .