Convicted killer and rapist demands release, claims his rights were violated
BATON ROUGE- A convicted killer and rapist is suing the State Department of corrections Secretary James LeBlanc and Chairwoman of the Louisiana Board of Pardons, Sheryl Ranatza claiming his rights were violated when his parole was rescinded earlier this year.
Galbraith raped Karen Hill, tied her to a tree and shot her in the left eye almost 30 years ago. It happened not far from Fort Polk in the middle of the Kitsatchie National Forest.
Samuel Galbraith was hours away from walking free at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center when the parole board rescinded his parole on a technicality. The family of the murder victim was not properly notified about the hearing and was unable to attend.
"My notification went to New York," Jesse McWilliams, Karen Hill's mother said. "I've lived in Illinois most of my life."
Tonight, McWilliams is upset that the lawsuit her daughter's killer filed claims his rights were violated. Galbraith took her daughter's rights away.
Initially, he was sentenced to serve 71 years for his heinous crime. However, after serving 20 years, the parole board granted his release until our story aired. That's when the parole was rescinded.
In Galbraith's lawsuit he claims he's been deprived of due process which is in violation of the 14th amendment. He claims that the technical irregularity as to why his release was rescinded, in this case, the family not being notified, is not one of the reasons to rescind parole.
"Under Louisiana law, the board does not have the authority to rescind a grant of parole," Galbraith's attorney Nicholas Trenticosta said. "Unless the person has violated work release conditions or the person has misbehaved in the prison."
The suit goes on to say, "Depriving Galbraith of release due to fabricated, invalid or arbitrary reasons for rescission, creates an atypical and severe hardship on Galbraith."
Galbraith wants a judgment in favor of him and payment of his attorney fees.
District Attorney Asa Skinner was a young prosecutor when Galbraith was convicted.
"Our office is interested in seeking justice for the murder of Karen Hill," Skinner said. "That's what we will continue to do. I've recently been in touch with the Attorney General, and found out about the lawsuit myself."
Tonight, Skinner is fighting to keep Galbraith locked up. He believes the lawsuit is an attempt for Galbraith to circumvent serving his sentence.
"It's just another tactic for him to get out and as far as being interested in criminal justice, that's what I'm interested in and seeking justice for this family," Skinner said.
We reached out to the Department of Corrections. A spokesman said that the Parole Board that made the decision to release Galbraith initially operates autonomously of the Department of Corrections. A scheduling conference is set for October in federal court over Galbraith's lawsuit.