Parole board decides to keep girl's killer in prison another 6 years

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Parole Board voted to impose the longest term possible for a man who raped and killed a 16-year-old girl when he was 15 years old.

Conrad Engweiler was convicted of the 1990 killing of his Sunset High School classmate Erin Reynolds. The board ruled that he will remain behind bars for at least six more years.

After filing multiple appeals over two decades, on Tuesday Engweiler got a new hearing and a chance to get out of prison because of a recent Oregon Supreme Court ruling. The court ruled that the parole board had been too tough on Engweiler and a handful of other juveniles convicted of murder. It ordered the board to hold a new hearing for Engweiler.

Before the board's decision, Engweler marched into the hearing room and Reynolds' family had to face her killer.

"Today was hard," Beth Greear, Erin's sister, said. "It's been a long time since we've had to be in the same room with him, and being in the same room with him is very difficult."

Erin's body was found behind the Engweiler family home on Portland's Northwest Skyline Boulevard. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

During the hearing to determine a new parole date, Engweiler apologized publicly to Reynolds' family for the drawn-out appeals and took responsibility for her murder.

"I was a messed-up kid," he said. "That's not justification for it. It was a twisted, evil crime."

"We've heard this apology before," said Erin's father, Earl Reynolds. "He says it so people will think that he really, really cares. He doesn't. He just cares that he got caught. And he wants to get out, and that's what this is all about. He wants to get out."

After the board voted, Earl Reynolds said, "Our family was given the best deal we could have gotten - he was sentenced to all that could be left according to the law. In all four sentencing hearings that's all we've asked is that he be sentenced the maximum amount according to the law."

The Reynolds family has six years before they'll have to face Engweiler again.