SAN ANTONIO -- A parole battle in San Antonio pits two heartbroken parents against the man convicted of killing their daughter because she refused to join a gang.
Jay Ferrel was convicted of killing 17-year-old Felicia Ruiz at a Houston Halloween party 17 years ago.
Now her parents are trying to stand between him and early release.
For Lucio and Carrie Ruiz, who brought pictures of their daughter to the parole hearing in San Antonio Thursday afternoon, reliving their worst memories to parole officers.
“There isn’t anything worse for a family than opening your door and two detectives are standing there, and you know what they’re about to tell you,” said Carrie Ruiz. “There isn’t anything worse, and your life is changed forever.”
Jay Ferrel is one of three people held responsible for killing Ruiz in 1999.
According to court documents, Ruiz was targeted by a man named Jesus Salazar when she refused to join a gang. Salazar reportedly recruited Ferrel and Lisa Huerte in a plan to kill Ruiz.
Ferrel, an accomplice to the murder, was sentenced to 20 years.
“I don’t want to talk to him, I don’t want to see him, I just want him to stay locked up,” Carrie said.
The family’s advocate, Andy Kahan, said their ideal scenario would be for Ferrel to stay in prison for three to four more years. But they do want him out on parole eventually.
With his prison sentence up in 2021, they said they’d rather have him released on a close watch than walk completely free.
“Get him under some form of supervision so he can be watched closely, see if he’s ready to re-enter society, abide by the rules and conditions,” Kahan said.
Ferrel’s fate won’t be decided for another week or two.
Either way, Carrie, and Lucio said they won’t stop fighting for justice for their daughter.
“When the day does come that he gets out, well we’ll deal with that then,” Carrie said.
Meanwhile, Salazar is the only one of the three convicted killers to evade authorities. Investigators believe he fled to Venezuela shortly after the murder.
Lucio and Carrie Ruiz said they pray to God every day that he finds justice.