On a petition Jan Colvin is circulating, she paired her sister’s portrait with prison mug shots of the man convicted of raping and murdering her sister 33 years ago. Colvin did it for a reason.
So people could see her sister, Augusta High School senior Kay Robinson, as she looked, with a layered haircut and those big glasses people wore in 1979, just months before she died. So people could contrast the face of the young woman who never aged — because her life ended abruptly — with the face of the man whose hair has grayed and receded after decades behind prison walls.
That’s where Colvin wants to keep Allen R. Jordan, who is 56 now.
Colvin and another sister, Sue Jones, are gathering hundreds of signatures of people who oppose Jordan’s possible release from prison. They don’t expect to learn the decision until next month. On Tuesday, the state Prisoner Review Board will allow the public to comment on Jordan and other inmates who are eligible to be considered for parole. The session will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the third floor, Room 3080, in the Finney State Office Building, 230 E. William, in downtown Wichita.
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Robinson was born nine years after Colvin. By the time Robinson was in high school, Colvin was helping her get dressed and made up for prom and homecoming. To Colvin, Robinson was mature beyond her years but still a kid. She was killed on May 8, 1979. About two weeks before, Robinson played hooky, and the two sisters talked about the fragility of life and about rape and how they would handle it.
“She said, ‘I’ll fight like hell,’ ” Colvin said. “I think she did just exactly what she told me she was going to do. She fought like hell, and she didn’t win.”
One night, about two weeks before Robinson would have graduated from high school, she didn’t come home. Her boyfriend found her nude body, covered in blood, after he returned to his apartment after working a second-shift job. Her throat bore deep, slashing cuts. Authorities said she had been raped. Her glasses lay beside her.
The prosecutor said that Jordan, who at the time of the killing was on parole for robbery, left prints on Robinson’s glasses, according to newspaper articles. Jordan received essentially a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder, rape and aggravated burglary. A second man also was convicted in the killing, but the Kansas Supreme Court later set aside the verdict against the second man, said Jones, Robinson’s oldest sister.
Jones and Colvin maintain that the evidence indicated it took two people to commit the crimes against their younger sister.
Colvin was 27 with two small children at the time of her sister’s killing. She says the anger and depression she felt took away two years of her life. “I was so angry that somebody this young and this delightful” was killed so violently.
Colvin, who had often done her sister’s makeup for special occasions, insisted on doing it for the viewing.
She wanted her sister’s body to be touched by someone who loved her.
Colvin insisted on seeing the autopsy photos. She felt she had to see them so she could endure some of the pain her sister suffered.
Later, she wished she hadn’t seen the photos, “because they’re there in my head.”
Jones said her sister’s death prompted her parents, Stanley and Pat Robinson, to move to Colorado from Augusta, where her father owned Robinson Electric. In Colorado, the couple started a Parents of Murdered Children chapter, and eventually Pat Robinson was speaking to inmates in Colorado and elsewhere about how their crimes affected a lot of people, not just them and their victims.
Five years ago, before Pat Robinson died, she met with Jordan at the El Dorado prison, Jones said.
“She wanted to sit down across the table from him and ask him, ‘Why?’ ”
Jones said her mother “actually forgave him that day. … She said he cried. … I don’t care if he cried.”
Tuesday’s hearing will be the third time Jordan has been considered for parole.
Colvin said the family has been left with the impression that there is a chance that Jordan could be released.
Jones noted that Jordan has a long disciplinary record while in prison. “He’s not been a good, model prisoner at all.”
“I would be very fearful of him coming out,” Colvin said.