Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Boy's killer denied parole

10,000 signatures gathered to oppose man's release

By Spencer Hunt
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

        COLUMBUS — Adrian Williams will spend at least another 10 years in prison for the 1982 kidnapping and murder of 3-year-old Jason Evers, the Ohio Parole Board decided Tuesday.

        Family members of the slain Springfield township boy and a victims' advocate group had collected well more than 10,000 signatures in a petition drive to keep Mr. Williams behind bars.

        This is the fifth time the 12-member board denied Mr. Williams' parole application. He will have to wait until 2010 for his next parole hearing.

        The news came as an big relief to Amy and Bob Evers, Jason's sister and father.

        “It's a big weight off my shoulders not to have to do this for another 10 years,” Amy Evers said.

        Mr. Evers said he was worried Mr. Williams would be paroled because he has spent about 17 years in prison. A Hamilton County judge gave Mr. Williams a 14- to 50-year sentence.

        “He's already spent more time than some cop-killers do,” Mr. Evers said.

        Joe Andrews, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, said the board's decision was not difficult. The board waited until Tuesday to decide the case, however, after a prison hearing with Mr. Williams last week.

        “The reason for the delay was they were considering how much more time to give him, as opposed to letting him out,” Mr. Andrews said.

        Mr. Williams took Jason from the Powel Crosely YMCA playground in Springfield Township in June 1982. Jason's body was found 43 days later in nearby woods.

        Charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping, Mr. Williams claimed a man named Cliff forced him to abduct the child. He testified in court that Cliff killed Jason when the child began crying.

        In an April 1995 television interview from prison, Mr. Williams took responsibility for the child's death. He said Jason was killed in an accident, when Mr. Williams fell on top of him.

        Mr. Williams' parole bid also grabbed the attention of Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen and Parents of Murdered Children Inc., a national victims advocacy group based in Cincinnati.

        Nancy Ruhe-Munch, the group's director, said she's been involved with the case since 1982. She said she was shocked the parole board decided to keep Mr. Williams in prison.

        “I really thought he'd be released this time,” Ms. Ruhe-Munch said.

        In addition to the 10,000 signatures the Everses collected, Parents of Murdered Children collected signatures and forwarded letters from its 300 chapters across the country.

        Mr. Allen said those efforts made the difference. “This demonstrates, once again, how powerful the community's input can be in these cases,” he said. “The parole board listens.”


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