A parole hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Licking for a prisoner who was convicted of killing an elderly man in northern Missouri more than 26 years ago.
The longtime Randolph County Prosecutor in Moberly is opposed to a possible parole.
Convicted murderer Jeromy Lay is currently incarcerated at the maximum-security South Central Correctional Center in Licking.
The 43-year-old Lay is serving a life sentence without parole for the April 1991 stabbing death of 77-year-old William Howard Kirtley in Moberly.
Lay was 17 at the time of the killing, and is eligible for a parole hearing because of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which said that life sentences without parole for juveniles was unconstitutional. That case was called “Miller vs. Alabama”.
Then-Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) signed Senate Bill 590 into law in 2016, which allows juveniles who were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole to request a parole hearing, after serving 25 years in prison. Lay meets that criteria.
State Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, sponsored the legislation, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling.
Lay and another teen, Jason Minks, were convicted of first degree murder. Minks was 15 at the time of the 1991 killing.
Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) spokesman David Owen confirms Lay has a parole hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Owen tells Missourinet the Parole Board “generally reaches a decision four to six weeks after a hearing is held and will then notify any victims and the offender of the decision.”
Randolph County Prosecutor Mike Fusselman is urging Missouri’s Probation and Parole Board to reject Lay’s request for parole, citing the crime’s brutality and the extended period of time the murder took.
Fusselman tells Missourinet Kirtley was stabbed numerous times in the chest, neck and face area. Kirtley also suffered two broken ribs and a cracked sternum.
Fusselman also notes Kirtley tried to fight Lay and Minks off: the attack began on a back porch and continued in a kitchen and two bedrooms.
The elderly man’s phone lines were also cut to prevent any calls from being made.
Fusselman says Kirtley almost escaped during the attack: one of his slippers and blood were found outside, near the back porch.
The 41-year-old Minks is now incarcerated at Eastern Reception Diagnostic Correctional Center (ERDCC) in Bonne Terre. Fusselman says the Parole Board held a hearing for Minks earlier this year and rejected his parole request.