In my post of March 20, 2014, I talked about testifying in parole hearings on murder cases that I tried when I was a States Attorney (prosecutor) at 26th & California. Every three years, I was asked to testify in the 1976 case referenced in that post. What’s left of the family would show up. 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 dragged a 14 year girl – Kristine D. – out of a classroom. He did stuff to her in a stairwell. He was recaptured. But Ernie has wanted out.
Sooooo, because the sentence was “indeterminate,” every two or three years I went back to 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. Susan’s grief-stricken parents both died – within months of each other – a few years after Susan’s murder.
On March 24, 2016, the Parole Board voted 12-0 to deny parole. They agreed on a 3 year “set.” Ernie went before the Parole Board in 2019. And they let him go. . . . . Under Illinois wonderful “No Cash Bail” statute, I’m sure Ernie would get a slap on the wrist, a stern “don’t do that again” – and released. Again. And again. And again. . . . . .