Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- A convicted killer has been granted parole and the family of one of his victims is beyond outraged. They want the community's help to convince the Governor to block the parole board's recommendation.
The case was big news when it happened in 1977.
A man kidnapped the wife of a wealthy horse ranch owner in Jenks and their horse trainer. He demanded $500,000 in ransom, but, then the women's bodies were found strangled, with their hands tied behind their backs in a shallow grave near Sallisaw.
Kendal Ashmore was the wife who was killed. She had a 10-year-old son at the time and a 12-year-old daughter.
Kendal Ashmore was beautiful, vibrant woman and a former Miss Pryor. She and her husband raised Morgan horses. On March 17th, 1977 she and their trainer, Kathy Brown, thought they were going to meet a man who wanted to buy a horse. They were never seen again.
"Of course, there were hundreds of people at our house, family, friends, relatives and stuff," Laura Blevins, Kendal's daughter, said.
Laura and her brother weren't even teenagers. She remembers the FBI agents and hearing pieces of conversations; enough to understand there'd been a kidnapping and ransom demand.
"They put together search parties to search. I do remember Dad getting the phone call that a search party found them buried in Sallisaw on land he owned," Laura said.
Larry Chaney was charged after one of the ransom calls was traced to his house and his palm print was found on the pay phone of the second ransom call. He had notes with the Ashmore's phone number and the fake name he'd used to set up the meeting with the women.
The jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death.
Because of that, prosecutors never tried Chaney for Kathy Brown's murder. But, then he appealed and his death penalty was changed to life.
Now, 34 years later, he's one step away from becoming a free man.
"I don't want to be not sleeping at night or looking over my shoulder or worry about my kids being picked up at school," Laura said. "One thing most people don't know is he tried to kidnap me at school before he got my mom."
Laura says the murders ruined so many lives. She and her brother grew up without a mother, her children never knew their grandmother and her grandparents never recovered after their only daughter was murdered in cold blood.
"Someone who commits such an atrocious crime should not be on the streets again," she said.
The family hopes people will write the Governor's office and ask her not to grant Chaney's parole. You can send your letter to:
Governor Mary Fallin
Oklahoma State Capitol
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 212
Oklahoma City, OK 73105