The state parole board denies the release of a Butler County man convicted of murder in 1999 after hearing the emotional pleas of the victim's family...
Authorities say the motive as to why Smith murdered Killough is still a mystery.
There used to be a house behind this pond 15 years ago, where Butler County investigators found one woman stabbed to death. And to this day, it's an emotional fight for family and friends on both sides.
January 22nd, 1997: the date when Shannon Killough says her life would never be the same.
"He has torn my family apart. Changed my life for the worst and he has taken away any hope for me to live a normal life," Said Killough, as she spoke with the parole board about the day she found her stepmother, Tracy, dead in the upstairs bedroom of her Shackleville community home. "It was hard enough having to live with this in the back of our minds, but it is even harder having to get up here after so many years and talk about this tragedy he has caused for me and my family."
Tracy Killough left her house to drop one of her children off at school. Meanwhile, investigators say Thomas Wesley Smith parked his truck off the side of the road on County Road 38. He entered through these woods and waited for Tracy at her home.
"We have a 105-year sentence... that's longer than a life sentence," Said one of the board members.
After a three hour search, Smith was charged in 1997 with Capital Murder, but was sentenced in 1999, where he plead to Burglary and Murder. And now, family and friends from both sides gathered to see whether Smith would get a chance at parole.
"Ladies and gentleman... the board has voted that this parole is denied and has been set off for 5 years," Said the board members.
Butler County Sheriff, Kenny Harden, who was an investigator when the incident happened, describes the scene as one he will never forget.
"It's one of the most brutal cases I've ever worked in law enforcement in a long time. The evil that was there... this was not something where somebody just decided I'm going to go do it... it was something that was planned," Said Harden.