Skip to main content

Jennifer Morrissey Called Her Victim to Say She was on the Way to Kill HIm

Iowa Woman Receives Commendation but Denied Release

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/crime/article/Iowa-court-lauds-woman-who-killed-as-teen-but-6352091.php
This 2009 photo provided by the Iowa Department of Corrections shows Yvette Louisell. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday, June 26, 2015 that Louisell will stay behind bars for now in the 1987 stabbing death of a 40-year-old Ames man, overturning a judge’s order that she be released. ( Iowa Department of Corrections via AP) Photo: AP

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The parole board, not a judge, must decide whether to release a woman who has been rehabilitated in prison after killing a man in 1987 when she was a teenager, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Even as it praised her remarkable turnaround, the court overturned a judge's order that would have let Yvette Louisell immediately out of the women's prison in Mitchellville. Now her fate rests with the Iowa Board of Parole, which has refused to release other inmates who were juveniles when they committed killings despite pressure from courts to consider doing so.

The ruling disappointed Louisell's supporters and sentencing reform advocates, who argue she's exactly the type of reformed offender who should no longer be behind bars.

Now 44, Louisell was a bright but troubled 17-year-old Iowa State University student when she stabbed 40-year-old Keith Stilwell to death in his home in Ames.

The two met at an art institute, where Louisell had taken a job as a nude model to earn money. Stilwell, an art student at the institute, hired Louisell to model at his home for a higher wage. During one session, she contended that Stilwell cornered her with a knife and said he was going to rape her. She claimed that she was able to get the knife and stab him in self-defense.

But jurors rejected Louisell's self-defense justification — Stilwell was physically disabled and she was caught using his stolen credit card. She was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

She got a shot at freedom in recent years after state and federal courts ruled that juveniles cannot be automatically sentenced to life behind bars. In a separate but related case Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court said judges can only give life sentences to juvenile killers who are "irreparably corrupt, beyond rehabilitation, and thus unfit ever to re-enter society." Otherwise, they should make them eligible to one day earn parole.

About three dozen Iowa inmates convicted of first-degree murder as teenagers have been getting new sentencing hearings and seeking release. But the parole board has taken a tough approach, so far only conditionally releasing one of them, Kristina Fetters, to hospice care as she was dying of cancer in 2013.

At a resentencing hearing for Louisell last year, Judge James Ellefson changed her life sentence without parole to a 25-year term and gave her credit for time served. The ruling would have led to her immediate release, but the high court put it on hold after prosecutors appealed. The Iowa attorney general's office argued Ellefson didn't have the legal authority to change a life sentence to a fixed term and only could make her eligible for parole.

Writing Friday's opinion, Justice Daryl Hecht lauded Louisell for moving beyond a chaotic upbringing and troubled teenage years during her 27-year prison term, noting she earned a college degree with honors, became a published author and mentored other inmates. He noted the county attorney who prosecuted her and the judge who oversaw her trial supported her release.

"By all accounts, Louisell is a model inmate who has achieved rehabilitation; grown from a naive and impulsive youngster to a mature, accomplished, and intelligent woman; and accepted full responsibility for the crime she committed as a juvenile in 1987," Hecht wrote.

But he agreed Ellefson didn't have the power to impose a 25-year sentence and order her release. Instead, the parole board must consider whether to free Louisell, who is eligible for consideration immediately.

Louisell's attorneys argued in court that the board won't likely grant release given its track record of denying requests from other ex-juvenile offenders. Hecht noted that juveniles convicted of crimes must be afforded a "meaningful opportunity to obtain release" based on rehabilitation, but said that it wasn't ripe for the court to decide whether that's been denied to Louisell.

Jean Basinger, an advocate for inmates who has known Louisell during her time in prison, said she hopes the board will quickly interview Louisell.

"I think she has a lot of skills and she's definitely remorseful. I don't think she's a risk," Basinger said. "I don't really see the point of keeping her in any longer."

Popular posts from this blog

Brenda Andrew Execution date

Brenda Andrew is the only woman on Oklahoma death row. She is there for the murder of her husband by her and her boyfriend James Pavatt.

     Brenda does not answer letters. It seems she may still have a bit of that pretentious attitude left over from her days as a respected deacons wife. Those days are over, hun.

     There is no scheduled execution date for Brenda yet. Oklahoma lists its dates of execution for the prison she is in here.

     Every time I read about this case I am utterly amazed at how stupid these two people were. She may as well have advertised their guilt on a billboard in front of the house. Both Andrew's and Pavatt's appeal were systematically denied without comment in 2008.

The little Scorned episode "The Sunday School Killers" at the top of this post is about Brenda and James and its only $1.99 so its worth the money.

AppearanceWhite Female; 5 ft. 3 in. tall; 110 pounds; Brown hair; Brown eyes; Body MarksABD: SCAR C LOW 4" c sectio…

Kelly "Turtle" Tibbs and her Chick Posse

Anybody ever hear about Kelly Tibbs? I read about her case years ago and was recently contacted by a friend of hers. I got to thinking about her again. I cant really believe she didnt get the death penalty.

She was a lesbian ring leader in her little town. She and her teenage friends were a little crew of lesbians that hung together and lived together. None had a steady home, all were from broken families somehow torn by substance problems or abuse or just plain neglect.

Kelly was the leader. Her nickname "Turtle" was the name she went by exclusively and all her followers tatooed a tiny turtle on their hands. This group was so odd. They were PeterPans lost boys and Turtle was peter pan. They traveled in packs and found food and lodging when they could. Everything was a game and they frolicked around everywhere they went.

Eventually a new girl came into the mix and began a half-assed relationship with one of the other girls. Emotions flew and she got murdered. Beat to death. …

Texas May Have an Innocent Woman on Death Row

Kimberly Cargill is on death row for the killing of her mentally retarded babysitter, Cherry Walker. Ms. Walker was found burned on the side of a rural road in Texas. Doctors had diagnosed her as mentally challenged in 1995, saying she had the living skills of a 9 year old.

Witnesses, some her own family, testified that Cargill was abusive and violent toward them and to Cherry Walker. Cargill was arrested in 2010 on child abuse charges and a custody trial was pending in which Cherry Walker was slated to testify. The state alleged that Kimberly killed Cherry to keep her from testifying.

Kimberly has always said that she did not kill Cherry but that she suffered from a seizure as she was riding in the car with Kimberly. She had been prone to seizures and Kimberly panicked. She tried to revive her, but could not. When she realized Cherry was dead, she set her on fire in an attempt to rid any DNA from her body. She was certain she would be charged with her death.

She was convicted. She wa…