In my post of March 20, 2014, I discussed testifying in parole hearings on murder cases that I tried when I was a States Attorney (prosecutor) at 26th & California. Last Wednesday was “Groundhog Day.” I was asked to testify – again – in the 1976 case referenced in that post. What’s left of the family was there. Very emotional.
Ernie S. stabbed Susan H. to death in the fifty hundred block of South Ellis. She was stabbed in a kitchen. Ernie S. ran out. Susan sat down at the kitchen table. Bleeding out. Her screams brought two friends who were upstairs. Beat cops arrived and scooped her up and raced her in the squadrol to the hospital. No time for an ambulance. But Susan was DOA. Ernie S. got 100 to 300 years after a 2-1/2 week jury trial. The U.S. moratorium on the death penalty (for which he would have been eligible) did not end until June 1977. Interestingly, Ernie had done the same thing the week before to Jasmin G – a nursing student (Jasmin lived). Some years later, he escaped from a prison van and ran into Joliet West High School and yanked a 14 year girl – Kristine D. – out of a classroom. He did stuff to her in a stairwell. He was recaptured. But now Ernie wants out.
Because the sentence was “indeterminate,” every two or three years we go back and testify that Ernie S. should never see the light of day again. Some folks will say “ohhh – just let him go. He’s a victim.” Just wait. Until it’s their child. Grandchild.
Postscript: On March 24, 2016, the Parole Board voted 12-0 to deny parole. They agreed on a 3 year “set.” Ernie will not be up for parole again until 2019.