My Turn, Your Turn: Releasing convicts early

By Gary McNair - bio|email

By this time next week, prison doors in North Carolina will open and 20 cold-blooded murderers, rapists and kidnappers will be set free.

That's because the State Supreme Court was forced to side with a man, who 34-years-ago, shot and killed two people at a convenience store.  He was sentenced to life - but next week he'll be a free man.

His lawyers found a loophole because of some thoughtless legislation back in 1974 that turned a life sentence into eighty years.  They later passed another bill giving time-served credit for good conduct.  That enabled a life sentence to end up being about forty years.

Fortunately they've fixed the loophole, but 19 other criminals whose crimes were just as horrendous are also being set free - and there will be more over the next few years.

This week we met the daughter and the husband of a woman who was killed at that convenience store in 1975.  Almost 35 years have passed, and their lives have gone on - sort of.  This week, both discovered that the pain is always there, just beneath the surface, waiting for something like this to bring it all back.

That's the real crime.  For these people who lost loved ones, their grief will never get credit for good behavior.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

Emailed responses from viewers:

These attorneys did a good job of manipulating the system.  But the real blame is on the general assembly.  But these attorneys and judges that helped set the men free will always have to look around before getting in and out of there cars.  There actions can be consequences of what can happen when the victims families and friends no longer care that we live in a society based on laws.


I agree with you on your commits! Being a member in the North Carolina Sheriffs Assoc. and classes in the New Hanover County Sheriffs Office Citizens Academy, we can let these convicts out regardless who made a mistake or any loop holes. I get to hear on the police scanner or reading reports from Police Headquarters on the crime that goes on. I work along with District 5 section of the Wilmington Police, grew up with police out side of New York City, Newark, NJ, and drove for a community in Ohio.
We deed to get tough in telling the people, courts and government that will not allow this for our protection.

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