1 of "Oregon's Five" will go free after killing as a teen
SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Parole Board decided Wednesday that a man who is part of the so-called "Oregon Five" will get out of prison 33 days from now.
Shane Sopher and four other convicted killers were supposed to spend life in prison. On Wednesday four tried to convince the parole board they should get out years earlier than expected.
The four are of a group called the "Oregon Five." All of them were under 17 when they killed. But in the early 1990s the state didn't know how to handle them. The punishments they got were harsher than for adults, and the Oregon Supreme Court said that wasn't fair.
Sopher had to tell the parole board about that night in 1992 when as a 16-year-old he helped a friend plan the beating of his girlfriend's mother, Donna Barrow.
"I saw Donna on the floor," Sopher told board members. "She had blood on her face, and she looked at me and told me, 'Shane, help.'"
Barrow at first survived the attack with a baseball bat but died 10 days later.
Sopher told the parole board how he was devoid of empathy as a teenager and had severe anger management problems. Now 37, he said he's a changed man.
"This is something I can't make right. There is no way to fix it," he said.
The parole board agreed. Sopher will be a free man next month after 20 years, 4 months in prison.
The parole board also considered the cases of twin brothers, Laycelle and Lydell White.
In 1993 they killed an elderly couple in their Salem home when they were just 15. Now they say they'd be good citizens.
"I just want to apologize ... for all the pain and things I've caused their family, my family and everybody else involved," Laycelle White told the parole board.
The parole board gave the twins tentative release dates of 2018, but it's a moot point. Because of their other charges in the case, they can't get out of prison for nearly four more decades.
The board also considered the case of Sterling Cunio who kidnapped and killed a Salem couple. But the parole board decided he won't be eligible to get out until 2066.
The fifth member of the "Oregon Five," Conrad Engweiler, had his hearing earlier this year. The parole board gave him a tentative release date in 2018.