OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Family members of a wheelchair-bound woman beaten to death with a fireplace tool in 1994 are urging the governor to deny parole for one of two women convicted in her slaying.
Nancy Heuring, a retired Department of Human Services worker who suffered from multiple sclerosis, was beaten to death in her Oklahoma City home by two 16-year-old girls she paid to take care of her at night.
Carie Walker, who was convicted of first-degree murder, was denied this month in her bid for parole.
But Walker's co-defendant Dedra Wilhite, who pleaded guilty to a reduced charge after her confession was tossed out by a judge, was recommended for early release in November. She won't get out unless Gov. Brad Henry signs off on her parole.
Heuring's family and Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Lister, who helped prosecute the two women, are determined to keep that from happening.
"Dedra Wilhite remains as manipulative and non-remorseful today as she was in 1994," Lister wrote to the governor. "She minimized her involvement in the homicide when questioned by the investigator assigned to prepare one of the reports relied upon during her parole hearing."
Heuring's nephew Kent Ferguson said he is afraid Wilhite will repeat her crime if she is released, a sentiment echoed by Lister in her letter.
Wilhite has earned her GED and completed some vocational courses while in prison, according to a parole board investigator's report. She has had 18 misconduct reports, including two for drug possession, but none since 2005.
Wilhite, now 30, has served less than half of her 35-year term, which Lister insists is not enough.
Since 1999, violent offenders like Wilhite have been required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences before they are eligible for parole.
The governor's staff is reviewing Wilhite's case, which was delivered to Henry's office in January, a spokesman said.
Henry reviewed 135 cases in January and granted parole for 101 inmates, according to the state Corrections Department.
Lister, who now has handled about 60 murder cases, hopes the governor decides to keep Wilhite in prison.
"This was a premeditated act that should make normal, civilized people take note," Lister wrote. "Oklahoma citizens with disabilities should and will be outraged if a cold-blooded killer like Dedra Wilhite only has to serve 14 years for such a heinous, senseless crime."