As juvenile re-sentencing looms, murder victim's family speaks o - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

As juvenile re-sentencing looms, murder victim's family speaks out

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

34 Iowa criminals currently sit in prison cells who, once sentenced to life in prison as juveniles, can file for the possibility of parole.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled sending a juvenile to life in prison without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional. Gov. Branstad then commuted those life sentences to 60 years in prison. 2012, however, brought the Iowa Supreme Court to rule 60 years as still unconstitutional.

“Because of the nature of the crimes that these individuals have committed, it has a very serious impact on the criminal justice system,” said Black Hawk County Attorney Tom Ferguson.

The ripple effect of these two court rulings extends past those just sitting in prison cells. Karen Salisbury was murdered in her Evansdale home in 1998. 17-year-old Matthew Payne was charged with the killing; a first-degree murder charge that, back then, sent him to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Salisbury’s three daughters – Rhonda Hoffman, Marsha DeWiese and Vicky Bolin - said they wrestled with those 1998 images of their mother’s death for years. Now – they must relive the nightmare. Payne, along with the other 33 Iowa criminals, can file to correct a now illegal sentence, hoping for parole.

“I don't ever want to have to go into the grocery store or somewhere and run into him,” Hoffman said.

Attorneys said parole, however, is not guaranteed. A judge could grant the possibility of parole, or not at all. Nevertheless, these parole hearings are annual; potentially bringing families back to the court room year after year.

“Every year if that comes up every year I will be there and I will make sure they hear my voice and they don't let him out,” Bolin said.

The daughters said the possibility of parole for Payne is extremely concerning for them; a thought that is nearly unbearable.

"What good are they in this society when they've been in prison for so long and know nothing else,” DeWiese said.

Hoffman said if Payne is ever granted parole, she hopes she never has to see him.

“Don’t come back to Waterloo, I’d go somewhere else.”

Black Hawk County Attorney Tom Ferguson said Matthew Payne has filed to correct his illegal sentence, but a date for the re-sentence hasn’t been set yet.

KWWL reached out to Payne’s Attorney, Michael Adams, and also Fort Dodge Correctional Facility requesting an interview with Payne. Payne declined to interview for this story.

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