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Man Who Arranged Slaying of His Parents’ Killer Denied Parole

March 21, 1985

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A man who arranged the death row slaying of his parents’ killer because he doubted the murderer would be executed has lost his first chance at parole by a one-vote margin.

Tony Cimo, who has been on extended work-release and allowed to live at home, must return to regular work-release status and spend nights at a halfway house after Wednesday’s 3-2 vote by the parole board.

″I’m disappointed,″ Cimo, a Murrells Inlet bricklayer, said after a hearing at Kirkland Correctional Institution. ″I was hoping to get this behind me.″

Cimo pleaded guilty in 1983 to conspiring with Donald ″Pee Wee″ Gaskins to kill Rudolph Tyner, who shot Cimo’s parents during a 1978 robbery of their Murrells Inlet store.

In September 1982, Gaskins set off a radio-controlled bomb that killed Tyner, who was on death row at Central Correctional Institution in Columbia.

Gaskins was given the death penalty for his part in the slaying.

Cimo, who gained national notoriety for his act of revenge, was given an eight-year sentence but spent only six months in prison before being released to a halfway house.

In a brief exchange with the parole board, Cimo noted that today is the sixth anniversary of his parents’ funeral.

He said he was driven to arrange the death because ″Rudolph Tyner just point-blank robbed and shot my parents. I just didn’t see any end in sight to the appeals.″

Also attending Tuesday’s parole hearing was Solicitor Jim Dunn and state Sen. J.M. ″Bud″ Long, who spoke in Cimo’s behalf.

″It’s time for him to take his rightful place in society,″ Long said. ″This was just one of those things. He snapped.″

Cimo’s respect for South Carolina’s court system has improved because the state finally has started executing prisoners, Long said.″The whole picture has changed because there’s been an execution in South Carolina. People know the system works.″

Cimo was haunted by the brutal slaying of his parents and felt let down by the courts, Dunn said. ″I’m of the opinion that the system has greatly contributed to Tony’s problem.″

But parole board member Rhett Jackson of Columbia said he feared Cimo’s early parole might be considered an endorsement of vigilantism.

″I just wonder what kind of world this would be if everyone took the law into their own hands,″ Jackson said. ″I have a lot of problems with this because of what the community might think.″

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