HOUSTON – It was a somber day in Memorial Park Sunday as the families of several murder victims gathered to protest the paroles of those responsible. The families took part in an annual drive to keep killers behind bars.
The way JoRita Kaltwasser’s daughter and son-in-law died still haunts her every day.
“Our daughter was shot twice in the head, our son-in-law shot six times in the back,” Kaltwasser said.
The crime happened in 1976. Louis Wright, who was 21 years old then, is serving a life sentence for the murders. He’s already been up for parole 20 times and the notices keep coming in the mail.
“That’s cruel and unusual to put this family through this torture every single year,” said Andy Kahan, Victim Advocate, City of Houston.
Kahan’s group and Parents of Murdered Children want the torture to stop. They asked for citizens to sign a petition during a protest against parole.
“What we’re trying to do is let society send a message loud and clear to the parole board that we do not want killers back in our community who’ve only served a fraction of their sentence,” Kahan said.
It’s a battle homicide survivors have waged for years. Kaltwasser talked to KHOU 11 News about this very problem back in 2002.
“You’re going to have to go through it again, remember everything again and look at everything again,” she said over a decade ago, and flash forward to today, she’s still fighting. “They don’t have a whole lot of feeling for we victims.”
And now another victim’s family is set to go through the same heartache. John Bice, the man convicted of Houston’s most infamous gay-bashing hate crime, is once again up for parole.
“It’s hard for victims to get a chance to heal and get on with their lives when they’re constantly being reminded of what happened to their family, Kahan said.
That, critics say, is not justice.