Thursday, January 24, 2002

Galloway sought to avoid release on parole

Said he didn't want to report to officer

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The man accused of raping a Loveland teen-ager was seen on national television in 2001 asking a parole board not to release him early from prison so he wouldn't have to report to a parole officer.

        An edition of A&E's Investigative Reports showed how Kentucky's sentencing guidelines allowed Robert Galloway, convicted of fatally shooting his ex-wife, to be released with no supervision after serving less than seven years of a 10-year sentence.

        “It is just a shame we don't have a system that requires people to serve their complete sentence,” said Rep. Jon Draud, R-Crestview Hills.

        Mr. Draud, known for sponsoring tough anti-crime legislation, called Kentucky's sentencing law “fundamentally flawed.”

        Linda Frank, who chaired the parole board when Mr. Galloway came before the body, said the state stopped supervising inmates released after serving the minimum time required as a way to save money, 10 to 20 years ago. Ms. Frank, who now heads Kentucky's Crime Victims Compensation Board, said that was a mistake that should be corrected.

        “I would like to see inmates be supervised for the entire amount of their sentence,” she said.

        If Mr. Galloway had served the full 10 years, he would not have been released until Oct. 24, 2004. Police say he removed a 16-year-old girl from Loveland High School on Jan. 8 and raped her three times. The girl's parents say Mr. Galloway took advantage of their daughter, who they said has the mental ability of a third-grader.

        The 38-year-old Erlanger man is being held in Covington on three counts of rape and one count of custodial interference.

        A&E's Investigative Reports focuses on a different state's parole system about once a month. Kentucky was the second of 19 states highlighted in the series so far.

        It brings viewers behind the closed doors of a parole board hearing. Viewers got to see Mr. Galloway ask not to be paroled, and parole board members explain to the victim's family why the convicted killer would ask to stay in jail.

        “We have some inmates who don't want parole supervision,” Ms. Frank told A&E viewers. “When an offender is really close to his conditional release, he or she would just as soon serve it out so that he doesn't have a parole officer to report to and conditions to adhere to.”

        Because of good behavior, Mr. Galloway's 10-year sentence was fully served after 6 1/2 years.

        If he had been paroled, he would have gotten out of prison six months earlier and been on supervision until Dec. 14, 2003. During that supervision, restrictions could have been placed on Mr. Galloway, such as no contact with the victim's family.

        The parole board ultimately decided not to parole Mr. Galloway, and he was released on June 1, 2000.

        Justice Cabinet spokeswoman Pamela Trautner told the Enquirer that Mr. Galloway was a “textbook example” of an inmate having the maximum amount of time taken off his sentence for good behavior.

        Mr. Galloway received three years, six months and five days off his sentence for good behavior, Ms. Trautner said. Another 10 months and 10 days were credited as time served for the time he spent in custody prior to his formal sentencing.

        The Investigative Reports producers interviewed local law enforcement officials talking about the “cold” nature of the shooting, according to a transcript of the show.

        Tom Epperson, the lead detective on the case, said it appeared that Mr. Galloway's ex-wife had been bleeding for awhile before 911 was called — the blood was congealed and had dripped through the floor.

        “He got away with murder,” Mr. Epperson told A&E.

        Don Buring, the former commonwealth attorney who prosecuted the case, told A&E the motive was to prevent ex-wife Vandora Harris from getting custody of their son.

        Mr. Buring told A&E he agreed to plea-bargain down to second-degree manslaughter because the original murder charge would have been hard to prove in court.

        But Mr. Buring added: “Mr. Galloway needs to serve every day of his 10-year sentence.”

        Mr. Epperson has since retired from Covington police and couldn't be reached Wednesday for comment. Mr. Buring declined to be interviewed for this story.

        Robert Galloway, 38, of Erlanger, is accused of raping a Loveland teen-ager.


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