The purpose of the Ohio Parole Board is laid out on this website http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/parboard.htm. This is the official drc website. The basic purpose is to make sure that people who have committed crimes do not get released too early and get out and reoffend. However, as you will see, the Ohio Parole Board abuses its authority and no one cares or watches over them.
We all know there are innocent people in prison. We also know that many inmates claim their innocence and are really guilty. But how many innocent people are in prison? Let me give you an example. For most people who have been involved in a criminal case, there is DNA evidence. However, there wasn’t always DNA, not until 1986. What about those individuals who were convicted before that date? Well, in some cases people can go back and get the DNA evidence and have it tested again and maybe, if they are innocent, they can get released. But, some people have fallen through even those cracks. Some people have had their evidence destroyed. Is that lawful? Well, not anymore it isn’t, according to a law enacted in July 6, 2010 found here http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Law-Enforcement/Local-Law-Enforcement/Senate-Bill-77#b9. Now, it would require written notice sent to the offender as well as the Attorney General, Ohio public Defenders office, the attorney or record for the offender and the county prosecutor. However, what about those offenders who have had their DNA destroyed before this law? Well, they must take their chances with the Ohio Parole Board. This brings me to my experience with the Ohio Parole Board.
My name is Lori Wampler. I am married to an inmate, Charles “Keith” Wampler. Some people would think this is weird or strange. It all started about 7 years ago when I had watched something on tv about inmates and how they need outside support and some didn’t have any. So, I wrote to a few. Only one stood out. He was very up front about everything and very intelligent. I knew he was in prison for life, with possibility for parole. He also told me that he did not do this crime (aggravated murder, for which he was convicted of when he was 16) At first I thought, oh right, but I read everything he had, transcripts and after having others read it as well, I realized, wait maybe he didn’t do this. Things just didn’t add up. I married him on October 27, 2008, despite knowing this because love doesn’t care what the circumstances are. After being married, we tried to fight, however, attorneys want money, which we have none. So we decided to wait it out and see what happened at the Parole Board. He had seen the Parole Board before and had always told them he was innocent and they just gave him 10 more years. We figured since he had served more than 31 years at that point, they would release him. He was to see the parole Board again in 2013. I found out through the Ohio Parole Board that you could set up a family meeting and see a member of the Parole Board a couple of months ahead of time and basically tell why you think he should be released. Also, I was told that they do not listen to pleas of innocence. So, what do we do now? We have no money to fight, we have no DNA, thanks to Judge John W. Kessler signing off on having it destroyed before the law prohibiting this in 2010. Upon seeing a Parole Board member (Trayce Thalheimer) at the family meeting, she informed me first thing “you do know we can give him 10 years”. Ok, so I am now nervous. She also informed me that he had always claimed his innocence and that they would not be listening to that. Also, that if he would admit to the crime and show remorse, things would go much better for him. Everything went as well as could be expected though and I went home. I thought about it and decided our only chance was for him to admit and lie and say he was guilty and that he was sorry. Part of this was true, he did feel bad for what happened, but it wasn’t his doing. And, honestly the Ohio Parole Board leaves you no choice if you ever want to get released. He was more hesitant that I, he said he would never admit to something he hadn’t done, but I finally convinced him that this was our only shot. Now, I have all documents to prove what I am about to say, they are also found directly underneath this. There is all information on the Ohio Parole Board, including official documents to corroberate everything I will say. Keith had a good prison record, only one fight in 31 years, never failed a drug test or was in any serious trouble. So, I figured we had a good shot. (Below you will find letters written by family and friends, certificates he has earned in prison, all legal documents pertaining to the Ohio Parole Board.)
In July Keith saw the Ohio Parole Board, when he came back he immediately called me and told me that they gave him 10 more years, after questioning him for more than an hour. I was devastated and so was he. Once he left their meeting they sent him to a psychologist at the prison. She was even shocked that he had gotten 10 more years. Everyone at the prison was shocked honestly, even staff members and they know him better than the parole board does, they’ve only seen him once, whereas the people at the prison see him every day. Their reasons were because they thought he needed more education, programs like drug addiction because 31 years ago, (before he was convicted he smoked marajuana and drank), to which you can find documentation from the psychologist stating that not only does he not need this (he has never tested positive for drugs) she cannot put him into these programs because it is a needs basis, meaning only those who need it can get into these programs. There is also documentation stating from the prison during an evaluation dated April 3, 2013, before seeing the parole board that he has no need for any programs. Also, after his parole board meeting, in which he was given 10 more years, stating he needs more programs,another evaluation was done by the prison dated August 15, 2013, he was told the same thing, no need for programs. In addition, they knocked his security to minimum security. Does any of this make sense?
I proceeded to ask who controls the Ohio Parole Board. Well, I found out that they are appointed by the Governors office, so I called them, even sent them a packet of all documents contained in the website above. They informed me that he should file for clemency we are waiting for a response on this now), which as I found out goes through the Ohio Parole Board. What kind of sense does that make? Also, I made calls to the ODRC, which is the office of Director Gary Mohr. I was told that I could not speak to Gary Mohr, to which I replied that I would come to his office and talk to him there. The next day the Ohio State Highway Patrol was at my door, asking about why I wanted to see Gary Mohr. What law did I break? I asked the officers this and they said none, they just wanted to make sure I wasn’t a threat. It is not against the law for me to want to speak to Gary Mohr, he owes me answers, the Parole Board owes me answers. However, I cannot get any of them to answer anything. According to the Ohio Parole Board they do not tape these hearings they have with inmates. Who does that protect? Certainly not the offenders. It just makes it easier for the Ohio Parole Board to say whatever they want to inmates and act with whatever they decide to do. How are they allowed to sentence someone to another 10 years? How is that fair? They are acting as judges and not even willing to listen to the entire story. They take what they want, do what they want, and there is no record of what they do, so no backlash.
Next you will see the Governor’s response to my husband’s request for clemency. There are some things I would like to point out about his response.
1st – His response came within days of him ending his campaign for President, making it obvious that there is no way that he has time to review the facts for himself. This shows that when it comes to the life and the liberty of someone who is not only an American citizen, but a citizen of Ohio, the state that Governor Kasich is sworn to serve, he didn’t feel the issue was important enough to merit his time. So Governor Kasich either blindly accepted the Parole Board’s recommendation or he allowed someone else to form his opinion for him. Either way it is not a good sign for someone who wants to be a leader.