SPRINGDALE (AP) — A 56-year-old Arkansas inmate who was sentenced to life in prison for killing a woman when he was 16-years-old has been released on parole.
James Dean Vancleave was convicted of capital murder in the 1978 fatal stabbing of 23-year-old Debra King in Springdale. Vancleave was charged as an adult and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Vancleave was resentenced last year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a separate case in 2012 that mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional.
According to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , the Arkansas Department of Community Correction sent notice last week that Vancleave has been paroled.
Prosecutors and the victim's family opposed the parole request.
Debra King's brother Leslie king said he's in shock.
“16 stabs wounds and 11 defensive wounds. It was brutal, but they let him go anyway,” he said.
Leslie King went in front of the parole board, to tell him he wasn't happy with the justice system.
“Ok, he spent 39 years, I`ve been 39 years without my sister. Where is my justice?”
Leslie said he fought hard for his sister.
"I felt like it was kind of my duty to honor them and do all I could to keep him there and I did, but our criminal justice system just decided different."
Washington County prosecutor Matt Durrett said Vancleave never showed any remorse.
“I would at least hope that before he would be released that there was some showing that he regretted what he did and the damage that he caused and the life that he took and the pain that this family has had to endure.”