Victims' families fight to keep killer behind bars

June 10, 2011 3:35:24 PM PDT
A family's heartbreak lives on long after their loved ones were taken away. The killer is serving life, but this family is questioning why they have to work so hard to keep him behind bars. The anger and the hurt return to this family with each parole hearing and they say it's just not fair.

The victim's parents are in the middle of an ongoing battle to keep that killer behind bars. That fight is taking its toll and they want to know why they have to struggle like this so often.

Jo Rita Kaltwasser's heart is still broken 35 years after her daughter's murder.

"What sticks with me is that our daughter wanted us, probably, and we weren't able to help her," she said. "That sticks with me."

The bodies of 19-year-old Judy and her 21-year-old husband Larry were found in a field near the Barker Reservoir, in an area which is now George Bush Park. Investigators say they'd been carjacked, robbed and shot in the head.

Then 21-year-old Louis Wright pleaded guilty to the murders. He was sentenced to three life terms in prison. But in the years since, from 1984 through 2011, he's come up for parole 17 times.

"It's a battle," said Kaltwasser. "It's a big battle for us and everybody that gets involved with this."

In 2005, state legislators passed a law which allows the parole board to set off future parole consideration for up to five years for the most violent of offenders. Yet Wright has never had his case pushed back that far. Most often it's three years or less.

"You just tense up again and get ready to go again," Kaltwasser said. "It's not like you get any relief, ever."

A spokesperson for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles responded to our request for comment, saying in part, "Parole denial periods are at the discretion of panel members reviewing and voting on each case as they review. There are a variety of reasons panel members determine to use different lengths of denial periods, including a belief by many that prison incarceration includes rehabilitative purposes."

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