MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Only on News 5 will you see a story about one family’s fight for justice.
The siblings of a Mobile woman killed in Dothan, AL nearly two decades ago are now fighting Alabama’s compassionate release law, that lets permanently disabled, terminally ill or elderly prisoners out early. The man who killed Pamela Jones-Stewart has been granted a “medical furlough” just weeks before his scheduled parole hearing.
It’s a heartbreaking situation for this family to relive a tragedy they have worked so hard to heal from. To make matters worse, they were never notified about the “medical furlough”. As they prepare for a hearing in July, they hope their fight will help other families and bring changes to Alabama laws.
“Knowing that he is being granted mercy because he has cancer, but he showed no mercy toward my sister,” said Charles Jones, Stewart’s brother.
It was December 27th, 2004, a day this family says they will never forget.
“I am 15 years older than pam and I feel like she should have been holding my hand when it came time for me to go. but she was there all (tears),” said Elizabeth Tate, Stewart’s sister.
Pamela Jones-Stewart was murdered by her husband of only a few months, Billy Ray Marchman.
Dothan police found Stewart shot to death in the couple’s home. Just moments after Marchman called the police, confessing to the crime, telling them he had just shot his wife.
“He was literally standing on the, if I remember right, on one or two steps down from the kitchen into the garage. the garage door was open and he was standing in the doorway with her laying behind him in the kitchen,” said Shane Ash, an investigator with Dothan Police Department.
Marchman began serving his life sentence in prison, in 2005. But now, because of the Alabama Medical Furlough Act, he may live the rest of his life as a free man.
Through the act, Alabama provides a compassionate release to eligible prisoners who are permanently disabled, terminally ill, or elderly. That’s if the person has not been convicted of capital murder or sexual offenses.
“We know that we may not be able to change what they have already done, but we would really hope that we could maybe have the laws changed. that someone that commits murder, should not be allowed to be set free,” said Tate.
It wasn’t until they received information about Marchman’s upcoming parole hearing in July, that they discovered he was already granted a medical furlough.
The family has written several letters to Governor Kay Ivey and the Attorney General’s Office. They also have multiple organizations rallying behind them until justice is served.
“No family who has gone through a domestic violence situation should have to deal with this 15 years later,” said Tate.
Marchman’s parole hearing is set for July 24th. The family hopes the state will make the right decision, so they can finally heal.