DICKSON, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Dickson family is taking a stand and demanding that the man who killed a young mom nearly three decades ago stays behind bars for life.
James Michael Spann is scheduled for a parole hearing this September after he pleaded guilty to killing Karie Ann Newberry over 28 years ago.
In 1993, Spann was sentenced to life in prison but was eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
However, he was denied four years ago by the State of Tennessee Board of Parole.
In 1994, the family said Spann testified:
“He had showed Karie a gun, it accidentally went off, but he shot her four other times. He then dragged her body into a wooded area, he left her for 24 hours and then went back the next night and set her body on fire,” said Brandy Richardson, Karie’s sister, recalling Spann’s 1994 testimony.
“Her ring on her hand is how they identified her,” said Charles Newberry, Karie’s father.
Karie’s class ring is the only item that her son, who was five months old at the time, now cherishes.
“I wondered growing up in school what it be like to have a mother and I never had mine. He took her from me before I ever got to know her,” said D.J. Tucker, Karie’s son.
Tucker said he didn’t fully understand the truth until four years ago when he faced his mom’s killer for the first time.
“If they let him out and I go into a store or a restaurant and there he is, what do I do?” Newberry asked.
After many passionate letters to the board of parole, Spann was denied freedom. However, he’s eligible again come September 7.
“I don’t think he should get out any earlier because my sister didn’t get a chance to live her life, why should he get his?” Richardson said.
The family said they plan to testify in person at the second parole hearing in September.
The family told News 2 they are using the same approach they did four years ago. They are asking for the public to send passionate letters to the board to keep Spann behind bars.