WWL>Topics>>3-18 3:10pm Open Mind : Violent Crime Victim Support

3-18 3:10pm Open Mind : Violent Crime Victim Support

Mar 18, 2014|

Angela talks to Founder and State President of Crimefighters, Members of Crimefighters Tracey Durret and Vicki Hoffpauir, and Vice President of Crime Fighters Vicki Hoffpauir about Crimefighters, which offers free services for victims of violent crimes.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well over thirty years ago a man walked into Houghton Louisiana bar. And shot four people two died instantly. Two others were seriously injured. Text Chandler was arrested sentenced to two life sentences at hard labor with no chance of pardon or parole. But today he has already been freed wants. Only to be put back in prison for a parole violation he is now eligible for parole in two years. So much for a double life sentence and so much for life of hard labor so much for no chance for pardon and parole. How is this possible. That a man who was convicted of killing two people in cold blood and seriously injuring two others can ever be free. That's the question the wife and daughter of one of those murdered by text Chandler is asking. And they're getting help with finding the answer from crime fighters the State's largest victims rights organization. Here to talk about their mission is -- -- power Wi-Fi -- and Tracy direct daughter. Terrell David half power who was shot to death -- text Chandler. And also with us is curved mag -- the founder of crime fighters. And Nolan goatee who is the vice president of crime fighters and I'm delighted to have all four of you here. And I want to start -- point blank thing. I am so sorry. I am so sorry that you lost your husband and I'm so sorry you lost your father I can't even. Comprehend what you have been through. In the last thirty years and that in fact you're still fighting the battle. Is even more almost incomprehensible. Let's go ahead and and start with when. He went to trial. Well he ran away he was then arrested. Found and then found guilty. Of two counts of murder. And what was the original cents. He was originally charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder. Despite all the evidence against him. And despite. What we're told is a very checkered past he was allowed a plea bargain. That plea bargain dropped those first degree murder charges to second degree and dropped the attempted murder charges altogether. He was we were told his sentence was supposed to be. Two to double -- double life sentences. With no chance of parole or reduction of sends except era. Two consecutive. When it was all said and done some -- whether it was to -- current life sentences which effectively. Cut his double life sentences -- half. We were not made privy to those proceedings so we have no idea how that change came about element -- because I think. For the general public there's the perception anyway. But victims of of people who are sent to present our communicated with when there are changes. And you're shaking your head. When I found out the text candor was arrested and I found it out through the newspaper so I called. -- parish courthouse and identified myself and asked what the charges work and if a child they had been sent. And I was basically told we can't release that information of course I asked why and they said because he has his rights. -- how much going to find out I would like to at least be a part of this he murdered my husband. Basically I was told -- the newspaper like everybody else. So this was 19751975. Yes man so I hired a lawyer at my own expense to find out the details of my husband's brutal murder. And he was someone who found out about the sentence -- about about the plea bargain but that have already taken place. When he found out. That was already a done deal basically. He plea bargain so there was no trial. Right OK and the district attorney had no communication with you -- saying whatsoever so he goes off to Angola. You're thinking for. A double life sentence. Hard labor. Never to be seen again you assured us that even despite the plea bargain that he was going to spend the rest of his natural life behind bars. And he was Angola for less than five years. He was transferred to David -- correctional center. And by 1992. Less than twenty years after he committed his crimes he was. And adored trustee and he was. Housed at Louisiana state police barracks where I'm told there's no bars at all and it's the most it's the least restrictive facility in the state. And he was basically allowed to walk the streets. A bad ridge with minimal supervision. And how long was he there for that. We don't know because. According to the current DOC. Secretary's office. We we requested. Transfer information we wanted to know the deet tails and and apparently there's absolutely no record of that transfer. In Chandler's master file there are no letters. On file there is no application on file there's no no record of who requested or approved back to that particular transfer. It's it's mysteriously missing from his file. He was there -- to wait for how long. Not share -- -- So all of a sudden. And kind of pushing -- here all of a sudden he is pardoned. And he's parole. Now I'm sorry he got -- on October 3 1995. He was somehow granted. A clemency hearing a commutation sentence hearing before. The pardon board. It's unit five member pardon board to what is clemency. It's -- Clemency and to earth meg here as you know he's the chairman of the -- -- yes. And before that the probe yes. Clemency is basically them. Gubernatorial and pardon -- relief and the words people have so a lot of attorneys even a couple of Supreme Court judges well -- just don't understand clemency. Under the state constitution. No matter what you've been convicted it could be serial -- you -- You know raped children committed aggravated rape on robbery first degree murder -- murder. If you get a pardon board hearing. And the pardon board now has to vote for it one to submit that recommendation of the governor. Then it's up to the governor and the chip -- chairman of the board would brings the papers over to the government saying we recommend is. A commutation of sentences clemency. And then it's up to the governors say yea NA. It's a two step process the important -- now since 1998. Pride in 1988. The governor did not have to get approval from the part -- it was only a recommendation I thought that was a pardon. But yet more comity is apart of going isn't I'm sorry I've worked clemency. Is I'm going to graduate -- -- Clements okay now but the part what has several other options. They can he is the magic thing that -- -- We closed when I was at a gym with the governor Mike Foster. -- got a life sentence which you what that pardon board to do is to to simply tell the governor. To reduce it to a number of years. OK so in their case if they reduced it to 75 years. It still says -- to the public while he's still -- -- and if you know. Then the the rule kicks in that they eligible full after serving 13 pitcher so 13 of 75 city. OK that's 25 years so. That's what how and how it goes and that's how. And I'm just telling it straight -- that he -- -- be politically correct ambient to liken it out of the city born and raised the retired while it. Police detective supervisor. And and have authored a book if you know in law enforcement back in 69. What was done on the -- -- case is unconscionable. The state inspector general built into unit he was a great reporter one yeah. Look at new go to he wrote the most stinging. Report if you will as the state inspector general on what occurred. Went after the aged people sat in the part -- of this was right pride in me being appointed. I was appointed bothered by go to -- and seventy's at 96 to the Parole Board 98 to the pardon. They came in 95 of the last days of Edwin Edwards. Okay. Date part bullet in their presence in the public meeting which is the state law public -- law they voted. 32 Q did enough and are correct yes sir okay. So that a vote for it to denied this is unconscionable. Unconscionable. They had a second secret vote. FF to put the gavel down at the portable courtroom. They had a secret vote. And Larry -- clock. Changes vote from me no to yes. They did notify them monitor picking up here when they notify no. I'm gonna do we're gonna take a quick break this is a very very important part of this though. That there can be a secret vote now of course not stay with this this is unraveling we'll be right back. It is such a horrific story and then just quickly repeated in 1975 a man walked into a bar. Enough and saying this wrong how to Louise how Louisiana. And killed two people and shot two other people are seriously injuring them. He was convicted. He plea bargain he got a double life sentence. -- labor with no parole or part. Off to Angola he goes five years later he is out of Angola he is working at eight. A lesser. Prison and then after that he gets to go with the state police and live and that there X. Before you know it's it's now 25 years. Almost 35 years and he is put before the pardon board. That was my original thing was you know what is the sentence mean when you get it. It means a double life sentence. It means without pardon or parole. And nothing came to pass. I don't really -- you know dozens and an important one the prosecutor the assistant DA all the DNA -- case he's prohibited by the state constitution. And the rules of the court for saying he cannot be part. -- That's right of the executive okay I'll tell all the it's simply say is the judge can only say I hereby sentence -- to natural life without the benefit of probation. A role or suspension of sentence they can't say the is that right of the government and applaud -- under the state constitution. Well that's where we left off which is important so now he is before the pardon Morrison is text Chandler his before the pardon board. And they vote and -- of the window and the daughter of one of the man who had been murdered. Are in that room and you hear them vote against giving a partner yes -- And then you leave. Ending another vote secret vote if you call it happened. And one man. Who was that Mary W Clark Larry W Clark. Reverses his vote. Yes ma'am he wipe it out and changed his vote in secret. And that vote. -- The vote in Chandler's favor and it's a direct violation of the State's open meetings law we we're not. Notified of this about change. Until we got a letter that was dated exactly seventy days after the regional hearing and that's important because there's a sixty day prescription window. To challenge. A pardon board's recommendation. We are not made -- what made aware of the prescription window. And even if we had me and we were not aware there was anything to challenge. Because we were not notified until after that we know had -- so you've got a letter seventy days later saying guess what this man as part. And it's going to go before governor Edwards. They they were going to send a recommendation. To governor Edwards to commute to Anderson's. To 75 years with parole eligibility after serving 13. This was 1995. So basically that -- and it would be eligible for parole in about five years. We immediately -- -- call the pardon board office to find out what was wrong in the first excuse -- dot was that it was a paperwork error. The next excuse that we got was that the chairwoman. The pardon board my given name is -- if they -- Had. Read the votes off the wrong. Paperwork. She read -- mean it sheets instead of voting slips and that the three to two to deny though that we were told at the hearing. Actually pertain to the case heard directly before hours. Natural me. At that time we were being helped by seeing Democrats now victims citizens against crime. Wonderful man and he immediately upon hearing that he immediately. Sent a letter to miss they are requesting all the voting information for all the cases heard that day because our case was that the F a fourteen heard that day so he wanted to know. How many other. Inmates sentences had been -- commuted or not due to this year. And of course she we we never got an answer because the real reason was that Larry Andy Clark had changed his vote in secret. And it was literally wiped it out. Yes okay so then you get this letter saying. After the deadline is due for you to contestant. Yes seventy days verse six and -- had no idea about the deadline at this time. Okay now it goes before the governor governor -- at first denies it yes. We we we are in possession of -- -- Agassi Andy had gotten had sandy had gotten it it was dated December 20 1995. And it was from -- Corey who was at the time governor Edwards executive council and it said. -- governor Edwards had decided not to grant. Commutation sentence to Chandler. And then nine days later we receive a letter that is signed with governor edwards' signature -- Which I hear is notoriously and guarded at the time. That says he that governor Edwards was going to can you Chandler sentenced to 75 years. Miss Corey was asked. About this and she also said that she'd miss read. Basically -- read the paperwork as well. So he gets out yes ma'am he gets out and then he breaks parole and he's backing him. Yes -- less than four years after he was paroled on February 13 1999. He violated his parole with a DW I arrest. And he apparently he was out at a bar drinking and threatening people. And he left drunk. And was pulled over for DW watch. So now he is eligible for parole in 2016 react to another break we've got to go to the newsroom. But we're gonna continue this conversation about how something like this happens stay with this but now let's go to -- names. -- half power lost her husband and Tracy direct her father when he was murdered literally is a bystander. Went text Chandler walked into a bar shot four people killing. Their relatives another person and injuring two others. And has been a 25 year journey. That the fact that he has given up a double life sentence and is in fact out. Unfortunately or fortunately broke parole and is back -- But now you all the to a view and her -- agree. And crime fighters are trying to keep them there he is eligible for parole in two years and 2016. Yes man he we found out by a chance. Not because anybody was looking out for rest and called us and let us know home. We found out that he is set to be released. With no. Supervision. On September 42016. What is your goal. We want to we want to win I would like him to serve his sentence we. Assumed that when he broke his first parole. That stemmed from that illegal vote that Mary Clark cast. We assumed that OK now he would be allowed. Or be forced to serve out the remainder of his original sentence instead of what they did was they just knocked off. A 180 days of his big time credit -- he was you know earning thirty days of good time for every thirty days CN. First they give him. Can K concurrent life sentences of rather -- in consecutive life sentences so that's. And you always told. The that we given them consecutive. As a -- and for those in the audience consecutive means back to back. OK but also I think the point should be made here quite frankly is this is the current. DOC's opinion. Of how this should be in. As you know many other people including crop artist does not agree with this because he should be one he broke a rule like anybody else. He should go back and had to serve the full terror. But for some strange reason they're trying to release him in 2060. And quite frankly crowd -- you know where pro Bono organization no news. No initiation -- no money. We all donate whatever we can bring to the table we have twenty attorneys on staff. We've got about 45 doctors. We've got psychiatrist. Thank god the glory -- listing today. And that we have psychologists. Doctor Bob wanted to. So what can your organization do to help these -- on the file suit against the state against Bobby Jindal. And and DOC if that's what it takes however the good news. Is that. Governor Jindal will be out of office in January the he the twelfth or fourteenth 2016. And a new governor will be in place. So maybe I can reason. Legally reason. Saying look. This is -- interpretation of the law he should be -- since he broke parole violated his parole he should be forced to. Serve the time. And not be released early. And I think I can prevail in court but that's just my opinion I could be wrong. But I'm gonna fight -- everything in her bag -- -- to keep this very violent. Very. Criminal that we belongs in jail -- it. I love this city I'm born and raised him up and he's been is that 1841. So and number retire from NO PD and wrote a couple of book about wrote one book has been published an album that's coming in. And graduate literally university selling I have a vested interest I love this city we got the French Quarter of the news in the river we've got the greatest coach integrated food. But will said the greatest crime problem we've got to be honest there's an elephant in the room. OK let -- go back to could you just mentioning you may end up selling but man you also sued in civil court yes ma'am we did. -- -- -- that this state of Louisiana and the DOC. And pardon board and the pardon board and we be dead that's it must vote count. Number one we didn't it's sketch we didn't. Failed to winged -- we felt we had to meet that sixty day prescription window. And the other the other. I think that was mentioned. Us was that we also failed to look out for the rights of the offender by not adding Chandler is a party to our case. Team that's where I'm totally lost. I asked to. What you're not alone stay with -- we'll be right. -- We'll we've been listening to really the tragic story of on a mother and daughter who lost a husband and father. Thirty odd years ago and then the catastrophe that followed to the to the court and prison system. Just as you sent her an angry unconscionable. We got some -- let's go to Jim Jim. Hi Angela Jim. -- There's this story is -- we record this is something that should be you know forms option people's belongs to them. Now you a mother and daughter thinking that the Cilic has treat them -- This -- -- way for light. And it shows the system. It that this is -- in justice system. And apps. -- or are in. -- This. Experience this first -- my problems are at night true. She. My mentioned here and now I'll I'll -- walking streets. This happened. In this country. And we should be out. It with. What is. Contrite. And the good people walk straight loss state you know by the way are on that was what was -- -- nineteen. That now prevents a person who aren't too sure. 85%. Of that time. -- -- new -- that. That was that was the law that I proposed along with sandy crest of yes I joined forces with crime fighters and victims of citizens against -- and that is so important to make them serve eighty bout. Percent of their of their of their time. That's an -- and why this person oh sure he sent that is what I'm I'm I'm trying to -- Were slightly what does like sixty years and so they. -- because he can they argued back that they he was convicted in 75. And that the law in 75. Directly in my correct yes yes that's what they argued that it -- the conviction that. So in Pittsburgh back to Whitney. The state -- -- said in nineteen. -- it but that's the that's the secret meeting that's the different -- proceedings on writing a letter that's ten days after I mean it just goes. You should be getting a lot of that the case for the persons released as. Absolutely before our nation you need to register with the state. When in our case every. It was a fox which once before going to be released or oral hearing or what have you it was almost -- before. Every time. -- you need to match -- -- -- -- I'd like to you. You little. Child actually. -- contact. -- That's great idea and I really appreciate it. Thank you Tim thank you. Very quickly yes no -- there's there's no -- I'd like to say that. This man came in. And he took a shotgun and in -- pointed at the face of poetry she's dead and another gentleman. And wounded two other people so this just wasn't one. Murder -- this was two murders and and to wounding and I just wonder that the dollar against Novak. Okay and to Egypt on the North Shore. -- board memory. That so releasing -- -- obviously the majority of pork board that voted differently. -- -- members. Well this was back in again what year was this. This is 1995. And you remember the name of the pardon board members who voted to release them. Larry Debbie Clarke was one of them. And the chairwoman and it's I -- suppose it was Cynthia FAR and our seat. -- and Eddie Milligan I believe okay. Are -- really never still on the board. And leave. Now and an announcer and exempt woods won his run for public statewide public office. Yes. Start our New York board can vote. Know once it's it's like a courtroom. Once the vote is heard in public and they voted is as Tracy to read his telling you very clearly there they voted you know -- -- one. I mean spirited to to deny and then after the gavel went down they were told the meeting was over. Then they want to a secret meeting and -- it. And he he admitted to Bill Lynch said he white it out with white out is vote. I hate it on another break but we do it and -- I appreciate your call appreciate all the calls we'll be right. Well as we've all heard an incredible story. And it and it continues I think that's what is so painful about this that you lost your husband who lost her father. Who was just an innocent bystander to a man who went into a bar and shot four people. Is horrible enough. But what you've been through in the last thirty years just continues. How horrible it is through a system. That it. Every time there's a mistake I can't get over that it hasn't been corrected and that things just continue for you to. And that you continue to fight and you were fighting now with crime fighters which thank Kevin if you were talking about urban -- -- a nonprofit. To help victims which you are. But I appreciate you coming in very much I will be thinking about two. In the coming days as I know you're gonna battle and and so will know in 2016 whether text Chandler gets out. If I want to thank you you're you're an -- on and you're your legend and I thank you that you are very very kind to say that but again. All of us everybody has been listening to the story. We'll be thinking about both of thank you very -- thank you very nice opportunity appreciated thank you and thank you all for listening and we will be back tomorrow but now let's go to the newsroom and --