We look at 10 murderers who killed again after being freed.
Should someone guilty of murder be sentenced to death or to life in prison? Should they be released if they appear to have been reformed?
Regardless of which one you believe, people with murder convictions are frequently released from prison.
But while some do well, there are plenty that do not. And while many are arrested again on lesser charges, some chillingly revert back to their old behavior.
Here we look at 10 murderers who were released from prison then murdered again.
10 John Miller
In 1957, at the age of 15, McRae left a family dinner, broke into a nearby home, and beat a 22-month-old girl, Laura Wetzel, to death.
Why? He reported that he “wanted to know how it would feel”. Sentenced to life in prison, he was paroled after 17 years by the state of California in 1975 — but in just two short months he had shot both of his parents.
His mother died immediately, but his father survived long enough to seek help. He was, again, sentenced to life in prison.
He is currently 71 years old and is incarcerated at California State Prison in Lancaster, CA.
9 John McRae
Considered a serial killer with a preference for little boys, John McRae was only 16 years old when he slashed the throat and genitals of 8-year-old Joey Housey in 1950.
Convicted of 1st degree murder, he was sentenced to life. William Milliken, governor of Michigan, commuted his sentence in 1972 and John was paroled.
He married, had a son, and became a prison guard (seriously!) in the state of Florida at a facility for youthful offenders.
Over the next several years, he tortured and murdered four more boys before being convicted and sentenced to life in 1998.
However, his sentence was overturned. In 2005 he was brought to trial again and sentenced to life. He died in prison the same year.
8 Jimmy Lee Gray
In 1968, an 18-year-old Jimmy Lee Gray strangled and cut the throat of his 16-year-old girlfriend, Elda Prince, before throwing her in a culvert.
Convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in Arizona, he was granted parole a mere six years later.
He stayed under the radar for a few years, but it turned out his twisted killer instinct was never far below the surface and in 1976 he kidnapped, sodomized, and murdered three-year-old Deressa Jean Seales.
Convicted in Mississippi and sentenced to death, he became the first person executed in Mississippi after the death penalty was reinstated.
It is worth noting that his execution on Sept 2, 1983, is considered one of the most gruesome and botched in U.S. history.
The executioner is believed to have been drunk and made a few mistakes, though it’s unlikely many people cared.
7 Corey R. Barton
In 1983 Corey Barton beat and stabbed Shari-Ann Merton to death. He accepted a plea-bargain that reduced the charge to manslaughter and landed him an 18-year sentence.
In 1992, after completing slightly more than 9½ years of his sentence, he was released on parole by the state of Connecticut.
He remained out of trouble for six years, but in 1998, he struck again — murdering his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his four-year-old son, Sally Harris.
Her family consented to a second-degree murder charge with a sentence of 28 years in prison (minimum of 21 year to be served) for fear he would be acquitted due to circumstantial evidence.
As of today, he is incarcerated at Central Prison in North Carolina. His projected release date is 11/12/2021 if he serves the entire sentence. He will only be 56 years old.
6 Howard Allen
In 1974, Howard Allen beat to death 85-year-old Opal Cooper while robbing her. He was convicted on the lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to 2 to 21 years.
In 1984, he was granted parole by the state of Indiana and was good until 1987 — when he really got started.
By August of that year, he was linked to 12 robberies and assaults on the elderly, as well as two murders. In 1988, he received 88 years for the assaults and a death sentence for the murder of Ernestine Griffin.
He is currently being held at Miami Correctional in Indiana. His death sentence was vacated after it was determined he was mentally ill.
5 Dwaine Little
Convicted of raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl in 1964, Dwaine Little received a life sentence in 1966. However, the state of Oregon granted him parole in 1974.
In September that year, a family of four called the Cowdens went missing while on a camping trip.
In 1975, Dwain was returned to prison for a parole violation and the skeletal remains of the family were found.
Evidence led the police to center their investigation on Dwain, though he was never charged with these murders. In 1977, he was paroled again.
He then stayed under the radar until 1980 when he raped and killed a pregnant hitchhiker. He was sentenced to two life sentences, though most believe he should be charged with the murder of the Cowden family as well.
He is currently incarcerated within Oregon’s Department of Corrections.
4 Arthur Shawcross
Another serial killer, Arthur Shawcross did a prison stint for a few minor offences and was granted parole in 1971.
In 1972, he raped and killed an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old in two separate incidents. He confessed and agreed to a plea-bargain in which he revealed the location of one of the boys’ bodies in exchange for not being prosecuted, but was found guilty of manslaughter in the other case.
Sentenced to 25 years, he was paroled in 1987. In March 1988, he hit again, only this time his preferred victims were prostitutes.
Captured after two years, he was convicted of 11 murders, though he is thought to have committed more. He was sentenced to 250 years in New York, but died in prison of natural causes in 2008.
3 Randolph Dial
Convicted of 1st degree murder for the death of a young woman in 1981, Randolph Dial was sentenced to life in Oklahoma.
In 1994 he escaped with the warden’s wife Bobbi Parker in what was thought to be an abduction, but it later emerged she had assisted him. In 1994, they were caught and he was sent back to prison.
Though he is not convicted of killing anyone while on the run, it is widely assumed that he did based on his violent past.
However, by the time he was apprehended, he had developed lung cancer and was extremely ill, so this was not greatly pursued.
He died in 2007. Bobbi Parker served six months in prison for helping him escape.
2 Timothy Buss
Sentenced to 25 years for the 1981 sexual abuse and murder of five-year-old Tara Huffman, Timothy Buss was paroled by the state of Illinois in 1993.
In 1995 the monster then raped, murdered, and mutilated 10-year-old Christopher Meyer. Convicted of aggravated kidnapping and 1st degree murder, he received a death sentence in 1996.
In 2013, the outgoing governor, George Ryan, commuted his sentence to life. Currently being held by Illinois Department of Corrections, he has several motions working their way through the courts in an attempt to get a reduced sentence.
1 Robert Lee Massie
After committing several armed robberies and assaults, Robert Lee Massie brought his crime spree to an end with a murder in 1965.
Originally sentenced to death, his sentence was commuted and he was released for good behavior in 1978. But in January 1979, he struck again, murdering a liquor store clerk.
He was subsequently convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to death. Immediate appeals were set in motion, but Robert Massie fought against them.
It seems he preferred the idea of a lethal injection to spending the rest of his life in California’s notorious San Quentin Prison. On March 27, 2001, he was put to death.
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