The family of the woman who survived the 1977 Hollandsburg slayings is urging a parole board to deny the release of one of the men convicted in the killings.
David Smith, now 62, will seek parole next month, decades after he was sentenced to four life sentences for his role in the Valentine’s Day murders of four Parke County brothers. Three other men were convicted in the slayings.
One of the victim’s mothers, Betty Jane Spencer, was also shot in the attack and later testified against the four suspects. She died in 2004.
“Please understand that we do not want David Smith to receive parole,” Spencer’s family said in a written statement provided to the Journal Review by a family friend. “What he died was premeditated, without conscience, and grisly.”
“We believe that forgiveness is an important part of a persons [sic] spiritual well-being and that it should remain between a person and God only, in this circumstance,” the statement added. “There are consequences that must be faced for the choices we make on earth and in heaven. Therefore, we say the sentence that was handed down should never be rescinded and parole should never be considered.”
The family declined a request to be interviewed.
Smith’s parole hearing is set for Aug. 10 at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. The hearing is closed to the public. The parole board denied Smith’s previous request for early release in 2016.
That same year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a mandatory life sentence with no parole should not apply to juveniles convicted of murder. Smith was 17 at the time of his conviction.
The ringleader of the slayings, Roger Clay Drollinger, died in prison in 2014. The other two convicted killers, Michael W. Wright and Daniel R. Stonebraker, are serving life sentences in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.