Family members and Onondaga County's top prosecutor are asking the New York State Parole board to re-consider its decision to release a killer from prison.
Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick has written a letter to the Parole Board, saying Howard Marnell should remain behind bars for the 1982 murder of his sister-in-law Sandra Olrich.
The 21-year-old was beaten and stabbed to death on August 5, 1982 at her home in Jamesville. Marnell, now 52, has spent the last 30 years in prison for the crime. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison and is currently behind bars at the Mohawk Correctional Facility. Marnell was denied parole on eight separate occasions. He was granted parole at his last hearing and is scheduled to be released on or around April 16.
Olrich's family says they were told Marnell would be very old before he ever got out and he would never be able to hurt anyone again. They fear he is a danger to society when he's released.
In his letter to the Parole Board, Fitzpatrick says he is concerned about 'some serious factual errors' presented by Marnell during the parole hearing which lead the commissioners to grant his release. Fitzpatrick says Marnell was previously arrested for accosting a woman and attempting to abduct her in a suburban parking lot prior to the murder, details the Parole Board never heard during this most recent hearing. He also calls into question Marnell's account of the knife he used in the crime and her use of a baseball bat, which Fitzpatrick says Olrich likely used to defend herself.
Fitzpatrick also questions the original judge's decision to sentence Marnell to only 15 years to life in prison for the crime. "(The judge) was investigated three times by the Commission on Judicial Conduct and finally resigned in disgrace to avoid removal by the Court of Appeals. I would give no weight whatsoever to an opinion offered by a former judge who took little or not interest in the concerns of Sandy Olrich and her family," Fitzpatrick wrote.
"I understand that Marnell has served 30 years and I understand that eventually parole has to be an option. It should not be granted, however, as a reward for his deceptions and dodges offered to the Parole Board. I truly hope you can intervene and reverse this travesty," Fitzpatrick said.
Read Fitzpatrick's letter in its entirety.
Olrich's sister and Marnell's own brother and daughter recently spoke out to CNYCentral, saying
they all want him to remain behind bars.
State Senator Dave Valesky also recently issued a letter to the Parole Board
, asking that they reconsider their decision and keep Marnell behind bars.