Judge grants killer Ruthann Veal chance for parole - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Judge grants killer Ruthann Veal chance for parole

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Ruthann Veal was convicted of killing University of Northern Iowa librarian Catherine Haynes in June of 1993. Veal was 14 at the time and was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1994.

In 2012, the United States Supreme Court ruled mandatory life-without-parole sentences are unconstitutional for children 17 and under.

On Monday, a judge said Veal will have a chance for parole.

More than 20 years later, the family of Haynes had a chance to read their victim impact statements to Veal. 

"She was kind to you and she tried to be helpful, and you repaid her kindness by beating her and stabbing her to death," said Laura Haynes Shimek, Haynes' daughter. 

Veal was convicted of stabbing Haynes 23 times in Haynes' home with Haynes' favorite kitchen knife.

Veal then took Haynes' car and went on a shopping spree with her credit cards.

The judge at that time sentenced her to life in prison without parole -- a sentence Black Hawk County Attorney Tom Ferguson says was just.

"The brutality of the case, the lack of remorse, the callousness of her actions that evening," said Ferguson. 

In 1994, Veal cried in court, saying the sentence was too harsh. On Monday, she cried again as the judge gave her a chance for parole.

"I would like to say to the victim's family, I'm sorry for any pain that I have caused to harm your family," Veal said. "I would like to say to my family, sorry for everything you're going through. I am."

Haynes Shimek believes Veal is sorry, but she says she won't forgive her.

"I don't hate Ruthann Veal, I really don't, but I hate what she did and I don't believe that she should be out on the streets," Haynes Shimek said. "If she's been a model prisoner since she's been at Mitchellville, that's great, that's fine. She can stay there and be a mentor."

Haynes' family says they plan to be at every parole hearing for Veal, because they don't believe Veal should ever be free again.
"What I'm going through is nothing compared to what she put my mother through," said Haynes Shimek.

Veal's attorney says she is glad she gets a chance. 

It's unclear when she will be up for parole. Ferguson says every offender is reviewed by the board, but not everyone gets a hearing. 

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