High court ruling could parole teen murderer

High court ruling could parole teen murderer

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by Katherine Cook, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on March 16, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 20 at 1:21 PM

PORTLAND -- The family of an Oregon teen murdered 22 years ago is fighting to keep her killer in prison as a loophole in the justice system could lead to his release.

The victim’s brother and sister told KGW that every day since Erin Reynolds was murdered has been full of anguish. And now, Conrad Engweiler, the man convicted of killing her, could be up for parole soon, along with four other murderers who were 17 or younger when they killed.

“What would she be like?” Reynolds’ sister Beth Greear wondered. “What would she have done? Would she be a mom?”

They’re questions she’ll never know the answers to, because her little sister was murdered at 16-years old. She was raped and strangled by then-15-year-old Engweiler in 1990.

Engweiler received a life sentence, with the possibility of parole after 40 years.

Then, earlier this year, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that he and four other juveniles who committed aggravated murder before 1995 should get prison term hearings now.

“I feel it's giving more justice to the criminals than to the victims,” her brother Robert Reynolds said. “We've never had a moment's peace. For 22 years we've had to re-live this story every day.”

Reynolds’ brother and sister will be in Salem next week, when the parole board will conduct a prison term hearing on Engweiler in order to set a date for his first parole hearing.

“The parole board certainly feels for the ride they've been on,” said Jay Scroggin, Executive Director of the Board of Parole. “But we've gotten clarification from the Oregon Supreme Court and we're going to act in accordance with the recommendation.”

The family called it undeserved justice, and for them it just means more pain.

“It doesn't seem like there is any justice for Erin,” Greear said. “Erin doesn't get to decide anything anymore. He decided everything for her.”

The hearing Tuesday will only set a date for Engweiler to be considered for parole. His attorney wouldn't comment other than to say he's ready for the hearing.

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