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19 Kansas inmates convicted of 1st-degree murder paroled in past 3 years

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at 10:57 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at 11:12 p.m.

Nineteen inmates serving life sentences for first-degree murder have been released from Kansas prisons over the past three years.

The inmates, who range in age from 35 to 92, were convicted of killing 21 people between 1979 and 1995. Most were serving life sentences that made them parole-eligible after 15 years. They served an average of 23.8 years in custody.

Corinne Radke, co-founder of the Wichita chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, was discouraged when she saw the list of paroled killers.

“It’s too many, that’s all I can say,” she said. “I’m kind of surprised, I guess, that there weren’t more.

“My reaction is just leave ’em in there.”

Wichita lawyer Richard Ney, who has been representing first-degree murder defendants for three decades, defended the inmates’ release.

“It was not the will of Kansans that these people be locked up forever,” he said. “First-degree murder does have the possibility of parole after a long sentence. Obviously these individuals have shown that they’ve been rehabilitated.

“The statistics will tell you that first-degree murder, and homicide in general, has one of the lowest recidivism rates of any crime.”

The 19 paroled murderers were among 221 inmates with first-degree murder convictions who went before the Kansas Parole Board or the Prisoner Review Board from January 2010 through September 2012. The figures come from minutes of parole and review board hearings that were provided to The Wichita Eagle under a Kansas Open Records request.

The minutes of 12 of the 221 hearings were marked “paroled to determinate sentence,” but those inmates were not released. Most are serving a life sentence for murder and a consecutive determinate sentence for another crime. Once they have been paroled from the life prison term, they can begin serving the determinate portion of their sentences.

Of the 190 inmates who were rejected outright, the Kansas Parole Board or Prisoner Review Board typically cited the violent nature of the crime and objections by victims or officials in denying parole.

Among those denied parole was Glendal Rider, who is serving three life sentences for three murders. He broke out of the Larned State Hospital in 1978 after committing two of the murders and mailed the steel bar he had cut through to The Eagle from Denver in an unsuccessful attempt to throw authorities off his trail.

Also rejected for parole were 65 of 90 inmates with second-degree murder convictions. They include one of two men convicted in the Sept. 20, 1998, drive-by shooting in northwest Wichita that resulted in the death of 12-year-old Na Nguyen as she slept in her home at 1362 N. Maus.

Paroled by the Kansas Parole Board

Samuel Minor , 54, was paroled from the Wichita Work Release Center to Sedgwick County on Feb. 16, 2010. He was convicted of first-degree murder for a slaying that occurred in Wyandotte County on Oct. 17, 1979. His parole was revoked after a 2011 forgery conviction in Lyon County. An earlier parole, granted in 2003, was also revoked in 2006. He is now a medium-security inmate at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.

Time in prison before his 2003 parole: 26.4 years.

Lila Jean Baker, 70, was paroled from the Larned State Hospital to Shawnee County on March 30, 2010. She was convicted in the shooting death of her 70-year-old uncle in Jewell County on Nov. 19, 1982. Although it was originally thought to be a suicide, an autopsy showed he had been shot four times in the chest and once in the back. Among the conditions of Baker’s parole: keep parole officer informed of involvement in church activities.

Time in prison: 27.4 years, nearly all of which was spent at the Larned State Hospital.

Bobby L. Young, 70, was paroled from the Hutchinson Correctional Facility to Virginia on April 15, 2010. He was convicted in the April 4, 1991, slaying of his girlfriend, Carol Dorsey, 53, in Lyon County. Young was a drifter who said he was too drunk to know what he was doing when he shot Dorsey in the head in the Emporia house the two shared.

Time in prison: 19.2 years.

Phung Voung, 49, was paroled from Lansing Correctional Facility to Sedgwick County on July 23, 2010. Voung was one of two men who broke into a gambling party at 2945 Davidson in Wichita on Jan. 18, 1987. Witnesses said the robbers kicked open a door and shouted, “Don’t move.” Srun Ky, 36, and Lim Chea, 41, both stood up and were shot. Voung, who was born in Vietnam and came to the United States in 1979, was sentenced to two concurrent life terms. The second suspect, Hung Nguyen, 46, was paroled to Washington state in 2010.

Time in prison: 23.5 years.

Derrick Wayne Davis , 55, was paroled from the Winfield Correctional Facility to Missouri on Jan. 19, 2011. He was convicted of murder and aggravated battery for his role in a robbery at Waid’s Restaurant in Fairway on Feb. 26, 1983. Brian Christian, a 16-year-old cook, was killed. Marion Holt, the night manager, was wounded. Police said one of the robbers opened fire when Holt couldn’t open a safe. A second defendant, Preston E. Jones, 48, was paroled in 2005.

Time in prison: 27.9 years.

Sueanne Hobson, 70, was paroled from the Topeka Correctional Facility to Johnson County on Feb. 25, 2011. She was convicted of aiding and abetting the 1980 murder of her 13-year-old stepson, Chris Hobson. Sueanne Hobson’s son, James Crumm, 17, and his 16-year-old friend, Paul Sorrentino, forced Hobson to dig a shallow grave in a Miami County field before shooting him to death. Crumm was convicted of first-degree murder and paroled in 1999. Sorrentino was convicted of aiding and abetting a murder and was paroled in 2000.

Time in prison: 30.9 years.

Tuan Huynh, 35, was paroled from the Lansing Correctional Facility to Ellis County on June 21, 2011. He was sentenced to life for the Feb. 4, 1996, shooting death of Charles J. Smith, 20, of Oklahoma City, outside Lan’s Egg Roll Restaurant at 3421 E. 47th St. South in Wichita. Police were unable to determine a motive for the shooting.

Time in prison: 15.4 years.

Raymond Pompa, 40, was paroled from the Wichita Work Release Center to Sedgwick County on June 29, 2011. Pompa, who was 16 at the time of the crime, admitted in court that he shot cab driver James Brown, 45, in the head after asking the Best Cab Co. to send a taxi to the Oasis Lounge at 4121 Maple on June 30, 1989. He pleaded guilty to felony murder, and an aggravated robbery charge was dismissed in a plea bargain.

Time in prison: 22.0 years.

Paroled by the Prisoner Review Board (after July 1, 2011)

Ronnie Caldwell, 46, was paroled from Wichita Work Release Center to Sedgwick County on Aug. 30, 2011, and later transferred to New Jersey. A Wichita North graduate and former University of Kansas football player, Caldwell pleaded guilty to the July 29, 1992, shooting death of Jeffrey Len Holly, 24, in Lawrence. Caldwell told a Lawrence police officer that he shot Holly because Holly had once cheated him in a drug deal. Prosecutors initially sought a "hard 40" sentence, but a plea agreement made Caldwell eligible for parole after 15 years.

Time in prison: 19.1 years.

Bob Ewing, 71, was paroled from the Lansing Correctional Facility to Wyandotte County on Dec 19, 2011. He was convicted of murder and aggravated battery for crimes that occurred Feb. 7, 1993, in Wyandotte County.

Time in prison: 18.9 years.

Alan Kevin Burke, 54, was paroled from the Ellsworth Correctional Facility to Saline County on Jan. 2, 2012. Burke was on parole for arson and theft on Oct. 9, 1988, when he shot and killed Eugene Barber Jr., 35, a co-worker at a Beloit manufacturing plant. Barber’s body was found under a bridge in rural Cloud County near Jamestown later that month.

Time in prison: 24.2 years.

Kenneth Ekis, 72, was paroled from the Lansing Correctional Facility to Wyandotte County on Feb. 3, 2012. He was convicted of first-degree murder and second-degree murder for the Sept. 2, 1980, shooting deaths of a Pittsburg man and woman – an ex-wife and former employer – who were found in a downtown Pittsburg parking lot.

Time in prison: 31.4 years.

Adrian Washington, 56, was paroled from the Lansing Correctional Facility in 2007, but his parole was revoked and he was reparoled to Shawnee County on Feb. 28, 2012. Washington was convicted of killing Catherine Cummings in June 1979 at her central Topeka apartment. Cummings, 22, was 26 weeks pregnant when Washington broke into her apartment, raped her and stabbed her 18 times with a screwdriver. He was sentenced to life plus 15 years for murder, rape and aggravated burglary.

Time in prison: 27.9 years to his first parole.

Conrad Joseph Hernandez, 48, was paroled from the Lansing Correctional Facility to Sedgwick County on March 1, 2012. He was one of three people sentenced to life in the death of Syndi Bierman, a 17-year-old Kansas City, Kan., honors student who was beaten and stabbed to death in her bedroom in a plot hatched by a jealous sister. Shari Bierman, 44, and Archie Owens, 44, remain in prison.

Time in prison: 23 years.

Kristy Wilson, 36, was paroled from Topeka Work Release Center to Shawnee County on Aug. 1, 2012. She was one of three people convicted in the April 30, 1995, death of Roger Santo Jr., 15, of Rose Hill, who was killed to keep him from testifying in a Butler County truck theft case. His body was found in a 4-foot grave in the 6100 block of South Hydraulic, where two of the defendants lived. Gordon Barnes, 36, who killed Santo with an ax and knife, is a medium-security inmate at Lansing Correctional Facility. Angela Barnes, 35, who was convicted of aggravated kidnapping and second-degree murder, was paroled in 2010.

Time in prison: 17.3 years.

Ronald L. Rhodes, 58, was paroled from the Hutchinson Correctional Facility to Johnson County on Sept. 5, 2012. He was convicted of first-degree murder in the Feb. 2, 1981, stabbing death of Cleother Burrell, 48, whose body was found outside an apartment at 630 N. Topeka in Wichita. Rhodes said he was at the apartment on the day of the murder but had nothing to do with the crime. His conviction caught the attention of students in a Washburn law school class that was studying wrongful convictions in 2010. The group said it found serious flaws in the investigation that led to Rhodes’ conviction but was unable to secure his release. He was denied parole eight times before his release.

Time in prison: 31.6 years.

Bryan Depriest, 44, was paroled from Wichita Work Release Center to Wyandotte County on Nov. 1, 2012. He was one of three men charged in the May 10, 1993, shooting death in Topeka of Michael Anthony Hill, 22, who was killed to cancel a $15,000 cocaine debt owed to him.

Time in prison: 19.5 years.

Stephen Stratton, 44, was paroled from the Lansing Correctional Facility to Utah on Nov. 21, 2012. He was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery in the death of cab driver Chuck Primm, who was stabbed more than 25 times on Jan. 4, 1987, in a rural area of Geary County after he drove two men from Manhattan to Junction City. Primm died several months later. A co-defendant, Jerry Thomas Odell, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, and was paroled in 2002.

Time in prison: 25.9 years.

Joseph Johnson, 92, was paroled from the El Dorado Correctional Facility to Shawnee County on Jan. 10. He was convicted of the August 1992 shooting death in Topeka of 48-year-old Chang Nam Kim in what was described as a botched murder-for-hire scheme. Prison officials said Johnson was the second-oldest inmate in the Kansas prison system at the time of his release. His parole was approved in July on the condition that he be released in January to a structured environment that could address his medical needs.

Time in prison: 20.4 years.

Denied parole (sorted by crime date)

Glendal Rider, 63, was sent to the Larned State Hospital after he was convicted of murdering prison escapee James William “Pepper” Jackson in 1974 and Wichita oilman Robert Aylward in 1978. Rider used a hacksaw to saw through a steel bar and escape from Larned on Dec. 5, 1978. Ten days later he killed another man, James K. Edwards, during his escape after a robbery at the Hudson Pharmacy at 849 S. Hillside. Rider mailed the steel bar taken in the Larned escape to The Wichita Eagle from Denver, hoping to make it look like he was headed west. He was captured in Wichita before the bar arrived at The Eagle.

Jimmie Nelms, 65, shot Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Conroy O’Brien twice in the head on May 24, 1978, with O’Brien’s gun after a traffic stop near the Matfield Green service area on the Kansas Turnpike. At his last hearing in April 2011, the Parole Board denied Nelms’ release for 10 years after making a special finding that said, in part, “the community has been exceedingly opposed to the inmate’s release.”

George E. Rainey, 54, fatally shot Highway Patrol Trooper F.F. “Bud” Pribbenow, 47, on the Kansas Turnpike near El Dorado on July 11, 1981, after he stopped a man for speeding. At his last parole hearing in June 2012, the Parole Board used the same “exceedingly opposed” wording in giving Rainey an extended five-year denial.

Martin Priest, 55, was charged with four murders and convicted of one — the Christmas 1984 slaying of William Mayhugh, 25, who died of exposure after being shot in the head with a .32-caliber pistol near the Big Ditch northwest of Wichita. Priest was found not guilty in the death of Mayhugh’s girlfriend, Freida Bayliff, 33, who was found lying face down on a broken waterbed in her home. Another jury found Priest not guilty in the strangulation death of Katrina Cheely, 15, who disappeared Nov. 16, 1984, after Priest offered her a ride to Allison Junior High. Priest also served three years in prison for the 1980 murder of a Missouri teenager before that conviction was overturned on appeal.

Willard Green was initially convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the April 8, 1987, shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, Zeola Wilson, and her 8-month-old unborn son. The Kansas Supreme Court overturned the second conviction, ruling that an unborn child wasn’t a human being under Kansas law. It wasn’t until 1995 that the Kansas Legislature made it a crime to injure a pregnant woman and cause the death of her fetus. Green died at the Lansing Correctional Facility on Nov. 20, 2011.

Anthony Davis, 57, is a former cruiserweight title boxer who was sentenced to life plus five to 20 years for the April 1988 beating death of his 91-year-old great-grandfather, Willie Bryant, and setting Bryant’s home on fire. Davis told police he and a girlfriend robbed Bryant to get money for crack cocaine and started the fire to cover up the crime. Bryant died of smoke inhalation before the fire burned itself out.

Wesley Davis, 59, was convicted of second-degree murder for killing his ex-wife by inserting a cyanide pellet into her vagina. Patricia Davis, 35, died Dec. 6, 1988, of what authorities at first thought was an overdose of prescription medicine. Wesley Davis was arrested in March after his girlfriend told police that Davis had bragged about committing “the perfect murder.”

Robert L. Hankins, 52, was sentenced to life for the April 18, 1991, murder of Kenneth Mallott, 29, who was stabbed to death at the Adult Entertainment Center, 2809 N. Broadway, during an argument over $2. Hankins, who once worked on South Broadway as a transvestite prostitute, had been paroled from prison less than a year earlier after serving time for aggravated battery.

Fred W. Deavers, 64, was convicted of the shooting death of Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Willems after a traffic stop on May 12, 1991. After his last parole hearing in May 2010, the Parole Board deferred his next hearing for seven years, citing factors that included ”inmate’s crime of conviction is characterized by multiple aggravating factors.”

Richard Stone, 59, was sentenced to 15 years to life for second-degree murder in the November 1991 death of grocery store clerk Donna Pauls, 53. She was dragged nearly 500 feet to her death as she tried to stop Stone from leaving the parking lot of the Albertson’s store at Harry and Georgetown with several cartons of stolen cigarettes. Stone was rejected by the Prison Review Board in November 2011, his only entry in the minutes released by prison officials. Prison records show that he was released on parole to Sedgwick County on Jan. 2.

Marcus Tuggle, 40, was sentenced to life plus 12 to 29 years in the April 2, 1992, shooting death of Tyrone Atkinson, 18, in what police said was Wichita’s first fatal drive-by shooting. Police said Tuggle, a Neighborhood Crips gang member, shot Atkinson, a Black Gangster Disciple, as the men were in separate cars near 11th and Estelle. Tuggle avoided a potential “hard-40” sentence by pleading guilty to first-degree murder.

David C. Brown, 38, was convicted in the Oct. 20, 1992, shooting death of Dick Johnson, 49, a clerk at a Kwik Shop in Augusta. Brown was shot in the stomach and chest with a .22-caliber gun during an early-morning robbery. At his last hearing in April 2010, the Parole Board gave Brown an extended five-year rejection, noting that “the inmate continues to demonstrate high risk despite programmatic interventions to mitigate risk.” He is a special management inmate at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.

George R. Spry, 47, was convicted in the August 1993 murder of Barbara Chaffee. Spry was homeless when he met Chaffee through her church street ministries program, and killed her with an ax after they developed a relationship and moved in together. Spry’s initial “hard 40” sentence was overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court, which said prosecutors failed to prove that the crime had been committed “in an especially heinous, atrocious or cruel manner.” At his last parole hearing in June 2011, Spry was given an extended five-year rejection because of “a history of threatening, assaultive and violent behavior and inappropriate and aggressive behavior toward female staff.” He is a special management inmate at the Lansing Correctional Facility.

Quilan Z. Jones, 34, a self-professed Second Street Gang member, was convicted in the Sept. 8, 1993, shooting death of Roger “Rob” Halley, 37, who was caught in a gang crossfire as he drove home from work in the 2000 block of East Central with his wife. Jones, who was 15 at the time, admitted to police that he was firing at a rival gang member across the street.

Kenyon T . Campbell, 41, was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the March 23, 1996, shooting death of Wichita attorney John Rees II, 33. Investigators said Rees was shot by one of two men who abducted him on March 23, 1996, outside Fantasy Private Dancers, 1313 W. 55th St. South, and opened fire when he tried to run. At his last hearing in May 2011, he was given an extended six-year denial after the Parole Board concluded that “the inmate has established a pattern of offending behavior that indicates on-going violence and antisocial behavior.” Campbell, who has 86 disciplinary reports on his prison record, is a special management inmate at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility.

Nam T. Pham, 32, was the shooter during a Sept. 20, 1998, drive-by shooting in northwest Wichita that resulted in the death of 12-year-old Na Nguyen as she slept in her home at 1362 N. Maus. Pham pleaded guilty to intentional second-degree murder and discharging a firearm at an occupied dwelling. A co-defendant, Viet Doan, 17, remains in prison. Prosecutors said the shooting occurred after Doan heard that someone in the Nguyen family had made an uncomplimentary remark about him or someone in his family.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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