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UPDATE: Can Louisiana’s Governor Stop A Murderer From Going Free?

Samuel Galbraith, photo from WBRZ
Samuel Galbraith, photo from WBRZ

UPDATE: A convicted killer has had his parole rescinded by the Louisiana Parole Board. Another Parole Hearing will be held.

An Edwards administration official tells KPEL that a press release detailing that information is set to be released this afternoon.

The head of the Louisiana Parole Board, Sheryl Ranatza, told the Governor today that she will rescind Galbraith’s parole, and call for another parole hearing because the victim’s mother, Jessie McWilliams, was not property notified of the proceedings. The original hearing was scheduled for October, but is was cancelled. It was then held in November of last year.

Here is the press release:

BATON ROUGE, La. –  “The Parole Board announced its decision this afternoon to rescind the parole of Samuel Galbraith previously granted in November. During recent interviews with various media outlets, the victims mother did state that her parole hearing notification letter for the originally scheduled October hearing was mailed to an address in Albany, New York rather than her address in Albany, Illinois.

Although Mrs. McWilliams did receive the required notice for the November parole hearing, because of the apparent procedural error which occurred with the initial victim notification, the Board will reschedule a subsequent parole hearing for Mr. Galbraith, so that Mrs. McWilliams and the District Attorney has the opportunity to fully participate in the process.”

A convicted killer is set to go free on Sunday.

WBRZ reports that a man, Samuel Galbraith, who pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Karen Hill in 1988 was ordered to serve 71 years in prison, will get out this Sunday after a vote by the Louisiana Parole Board.

In November of last year, the Parole Board, on a 3 to 0 vote, decided that Galbraith would go free after serving only about a third of his sentence.

When the Parole Board met to consider whether or not Galbraith should be released, Karen’s mother, Jessie McWilliams, was not there. Why? She says she never received notification as is required by law, but Galbraith had mutliple family members in attendance according to WBRZ. The State says it sent the notice. McWilliams say it went to Albany, New York, but she lives in Albany, Illinois and has for decades. She thinks it was done on purpose.

After ten years on the lam, Galbraith plead guilty to rape and murder. He took 21-year-old Karen away from the store, took her into the woods, raped her, tied her to a tree, and then proceeded to shoot her in the eye with a .22 caliber gun.

WBRZ reports that Galbraith had said he always wanted to know what it felt like. Vermon Parish District Attorney Asa Skinner says he suspects Galbraith was responsible for other rapes and murders in the area around Kisatchie National Forest, where Hill was killed, and Fort Polk, where Galbraith was a soldier.

Anyone wishing to call the Governor’s Office to give him your opinion on Galbraith’s release from the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center this Sunday can call 225-342-7015. The woman who answered the phone said they have been so inundated with calls that the switchboard does occasionally switch to the night time service that asks for an extension. She says just call back.





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