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WV inmates denied parole for murders committed as youths

By By John Raby

The Associated Press

ST. MARYS — Three inmates who were convicted of murder as teenagers decades ago have again been denied their pleas for freedom under a West Virginia law that allows parole for juveniles who commit serious crimes.

A state parole board rejected bids by William E. Wayne, Lawrence T. Redman and Larry D. Hall II during separate hearings Wednesday at St. Marys Correctional Center.

The three-member board told each prisoner in brief remarks afterward that it wasn’t ready to let them go. But the board scheduled their next hearings in September 2018.

Wednesday’s hearing came three years after they were denied initial bids for release following the 2014 passage of the law. The state parole board applied the new law retroactively and singled out seven juvenile lifers in murder cases, including Wayne, Redman and Hall.

Lawmakers had acted two years after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 banned mandatory life without parole for juveniles convicted of murder. Last year, the court said the ruling was retroactive for the more than 2,000 offenders serving such sentences nationwide.

Both Hall and Redman were 17 when their crimes were committed.

Hall had two children and another one on the way in 1995 when he was sentenced to life without parole in the fatal beating of a man in a confrontation at Hall’s house during a party in Taylor County. Hall’s attorney said his client was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and LSD at the time.

Now 40, Hall said a 2011 car accident that paralyzed his oldest daughter was the low point of his life.

“That right there has changed my outlook,” Hall said. “I made a vow to myself then, I’ve got to do everything I can” to win freedom.

Hall wiped away tears and closed his eyes as he listened to a plea to the board from his father, Larry. After the hearing, the elder Hall said he was shocked by the board’s decision.

“They passed this new law. They need to start honoring the law,” he said.

Redman, 50, was convicted for the September 1984 murder of a Berkeley County shopkeeper for $104 in pennies.

“I’m trying to go back to a family that I lost,” Redman told the board. “I’ve done everything I can do here.”

Wayne, who has been in prison for 42 years and now is 59, said he had “no hope at all” before the state law was passed.

He was among more than a dozen prisoners who escaped from the old state penitentiary in Moundsville in 1979 when an off-duty state trooper was killed during the breakout.

At the time of the breakout, Wayne had been serving a life sentence without parole for killing a shopkeeper in Wood County during a 1975 robbery. He received a life sentence with the chance for parole in the trooper’s’ death.

Three other inmates convicted for murders committed as juveniles are scheduled for hearings later this year:

n John Moss Jr., 55, convicted of the December 1979 murders of a Kanawha County woman and her two children, 7 and 4.

n Cecil “Clay” Holcomb III, 39, convicted of the May 1993 murders of his parents in Fayette County.

n Michael Day, 32, convicted of the June 2002 murder of a homeless veteran in Cabell County. Day also was convicted of felony conspiracy.

Another inmate is eligible for a parole hearing in 2023. Kelly Chapman, 24, was convicted of the November 2008 murder of his intended victim’s unborn child in Kanawha County.

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