The date of Samuel Galbraith's rescheduled hearing has been set for August 3. He was convicted in 1988 for the death of Karen Hill, 21 at the time.

The date of Samuel Galbraith's rescheduled hearing has been set for August 3. He was convicted in 1988 for the death of Karen Hill, 21 at the time.

The Louisiana Parole Board, appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards, will determine whether Galbraith, 47, is eligible for early release from the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, Louisiana.

His parole was initially granted by the Board, in November, for release in April. This was possible due to a a relatively new law. It grants first-time felony offenders eligibility for parole at the age of 45, after serving 20 years of their sentence. Edwards has said this law is no longer active.

"The law that allowed for parole consideration on this individual is an old law that is no longer on the books," Edwards said.

Galbraith's original sentence stipulated that he serve at least 85 percent of 71 years in prison. The board granted parole based on his "good conduct, community service, completion of various rehabilitation programs, and having a strong family support system."

There was, however, a technicality in the process which prevented his release.

Jessie McWilliams, the victim's mother, did not receive notification for the November hearing. Her notification letter for the parole hearing was mailed to an address in Albany, New York, instead of her actual address in Albany, Illinois.

When McWilliams heard that Galbraith was going to be released, she flew to Baton Rouge from Illinois to tell her daughter's story.

With the rescheduled hearing, McWilliams and Asa Skinner, Vernon Parish District Attorney, will have the opportunity to fully participate in the process.

Williams and her family plan to attend the hearing. They, along with Hill’s then-husband, James, will speak at the hearing, she said. Hill’s siblings will write letters to be read by McWilliams.

 

“We are ready for our time to speak against this man and what he did to our family all those years ago,” she said.

Prosecutors said that, on the night of November 21st, 1988, Galbraith abducted Hill from her job at a convenience store (then, a Circle K) on Entrance Road in Leesville. He took her 10 miles away to Kisatchie National Forest. There, he raped her, tied her to a tree with a shoe lace, and shot her in the left eye with a .22.

The case went unsolved for nine years.

A tip eventually led to the arrest of Galbraith, and DNA evidence linked him to the crime. Despite a First-degree murder charge, he entered a plea deal in 2000 for manslaughter and attempted aggravated rape, with the 71-year sentence.

Skinner suspects Galbraith could also be responsible for two other cases similar to Hill's.

"We have two other women who were last seen at a convenience store before their bodies were found in the woods near the military base," he said. "All of this happened around the same time he was stationed at Fort Polk."