Family of DWI victim opposes parole for killer

Bill Leaf / file photo

The family of a Central New York sports broadcaster killed in a DWI crash wants to keep a criminal in prison.

Bill Leaf died on January 8, 2006 when a car, driving the wrong way on Route 81, crashed into his car head on. The driver, Matthew Benedict, is serving six to twelve years in prison. Authorities found his blood/alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit. In addition Benedict had been driving without a license because of prior drunk driving convictions.

Earlier this week, Benedict went before a parole board to determine if he would be eligible for release early next year. Leaf's sister, Maria, presented the Parole Board with a letter asking that Benedict serve the maximum term of twelve years. In addition, the family has established an "Honor Bill Leaf" facebook page to act as a type of petition against early release for Benedict.

Maria Leaf told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "The pain really is just as strong as it was back then and to think Matthew Benedict could be back on the streets next year is beyond terrifying to me."

Leaf expects a decision from the parole board on Friday. If it turns down Benedict's request, there would be another parole hearing within the next 24 months.