AP NEWS

3 West Virginia inmates convicted of murder as youths freed

October 23, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Three inmates who were convicted of murder as teenagers decades ago have been set free under a West Virginia law that allows parole for juveniles who commit serious crimes, a prison system spokesman said Tuesday.

William E. Wayne, Lawrence T. Redman and Larry D. Hall II were released earlier this month from St. Marys Correctional Center. A three-member state parole board approved their releases last month, West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman Lawrence Messina said.

Their release came four years after they were denied initial bids for freedom following the 2014 passage of the law. The state parole board applied the new law retroactively and singled out seven juvenile lifers in murder cases, including Wayne, Redman and Hall.

Lawmakers had acted two years after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 banned mandatory life without parole for juveniles convicted of murder. In 2016, the court said the ruling was retroactive for the more than 2,000 offenders serving such sentences nationwide.

Both Hall and Redman were 17 when their crimes were committed.

Hall, now 41, had two children and another one on the way in 1995 when he was sentenced to life without parole in the fatal beating of a man in a confrontation at Hall’s house during a party in Taylor County. Hall’s attorney has said his client was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and LSD at the time.

Redman, now 51, was convicted for the September 1984 murder of a Berkeley County shopkeeper for $104 in pennies.

The 60-year-old Wayne had been in prison for 43 years. He had said at a previous parole hearing that he had “no hope at all” before the state law was passed.

Wayne was among more than a dozen prisoners who escaped from the old state penitentiary in Moundsville in 1979 when an off-duty state trooper was killed during the breakout.

At the time of the breakout, Wayne had been serving a life sentence without parole for killing a shopkeeper in Wood County during a 1975 robbery. He received a life sentence with the chance for parole in the trooper’s’ death.

Messina said another inmate convicted of murder as a teenager was released on parole in January after a December 2017 parole hearing. Michael Day, now 33, was convicted in the June 2002 murder of a homeless veteran in Cabell County. He also was convicted of felony conspiracy. Day was 17 at the time.

Parole hearings for three other inmates convicted for murders committed as juveniles are still at least a year away, including for:

— Cecil “Clay” Holcomb III, 40, convicted of the May 1993 murders of his parents in Fayette County. His hearing is set for December 2019.

— John Moss Jr., 56, convicted of the December 1979 murders of a Kanawha County woman and her two children, 7 and 4. His hearing is set for September 2020.

— Kelly Chapman, 25, convicted of the November 2008 murder of his intended victim’s unborn child in Kanawha County. His hearing is set for October 2023.