Dozens of people on Wednesday pleaded with the Prisoner Review Board to keep the man who helped kidnap and kill 9-year-old Nancy Shoemaker in prison.
It’s the fourth time Donald Wacker, 54, has been up for parole.
Wacker was convicted of helping Doil Lane kidnap Nancy a block and half from her south Wichita home on July 30, 1990. She was on her way to buy a soda for her ill brother.
After the abduction, the men drove Nancy to a Sumner County field where Lane raped her and strangled her with a belt. Her body was found more than six months later.
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Bo Shoemaker, Nancy’s dad, her stepmother, Julie Shoemaker, and brother sat in front of the parole board holding hands.
“He was the only person who could help her and he chose not to do that,” Bo Shoemaker said, adding that Wacker watched as Nancy was tortured.
Everyone who spoke said Nancy’s death not only destroyed her family, but it changed the community forever. Some had never met the Shoemakers before Wednesday.
“I just introduced myself to Julie Shoemaker 20 minutes before the hearing,” one woman said. “If you guys release (Wacker), you’re releasing a predator into our community.”
Another woman said she was 5 years old when Nancy’s body was found. Now, with a young daughter of her own, she’s terrified that if Wacker is released, another family will be destroyed.
“It could happen to another family,” Julie Shoemaker agreed. “This is why we fight, to protect children out there.”
Business owners helped the family collect more than 9,000 signatures asking that Wacker’s parole be denied. Bo Shoemaker handed the board those signatures after the hearing. He also handed them pink, rubber bracelets — the same ones most people at the hearing wore.
Wacker, who is serving a life sentence, was denied parole in 1999, 2004 and 2010, according to The Eagle’s archives.
Family friend Sandra Smith told the board that she doesn’t understand why they keep having to gather and fight to keep him imprisoned.
“This man should have gotten life without parole. Look at that sweet face of that girl,” she said, pointing to a picture of Nancy.
Lane is serving time in a Texas prison for murdering a girl in 1980 and hasn’t begun serving the 66-year sentence he received for Nancy’s rape and murder.
If Wacker’s parole is approved, he could be released from prison as early as December, according to the KDOC’s website.
The board will review all comments that were made at the hearing or sent to their office along with police and attorney reports before meeting with Wacker in about a month. After that, they will meet again and about 30 days later will decide if Wacker should be released.