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Man convicted in 'heinous' 1988 murder case is up for parole again, could be released from prison

1 year 3 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, March 09 2023 Mar 9, 2023 March 09, 2023 2:32 PM March 09, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

ST. GABRIEL - A convicted rapist and murderer who detectives and a district attorney believe is the prime suspect in other murders could be set free from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in May.

The Parole Board in Baton Rouge appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards is scheduled to meet in May to discuss his release. In November 2016, they approved his release, but after the WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed what was about to happen, Governor Edwards blocked the decision amid public outcry.

Samuel Galbraith, a soldier at Fort Polk, killed Karen Hill in 1988. He was on the run for almost 10 years after her murder, until he was caught. The brutal nature of the crime brings seasoned detectives to tears.

"You don't forget it," retired detective Kenneth Williams said. "When I looked at the tree, it was like she was still tied to it."

Williams met WBRZ at the murder scene some 30 years later.

Now, Karen Hill's mother is demanding that the right thing be done.

"Do your job and don't let him out," Jessie McWilliams said. "He didn't just murder my daughter, it was a heinous, vicious murder. He raped her and tied her to a tree."

McWilliams had no justice for almost a decade as her daughter's killer roamed free. Until Samuel Galbraith bragged to the wrong person who went to authorities. At the time Hill was murdered, retired District Attorney Asa Skinner was a young prosecutor.

"He told his friend that he had dreamed and had visions of going to a convenience store, getting a woman, kidnapping them, raping them and killing them to see what it felt like," Skinner said.

Before a trial was held, Galbraith pleaded guilty to raping Hill after DNA evidence linked him to the crime. He also pleaded guilty to her murder. Galbraith was sentenced to 71 years and told he needed to serve 85 percent of it.

With Galbraith now up for parole again, questions remain about why he keeps getting a shot at freedom.

"I don't think he should get out," McWilliams said. "I can go down and take care of him, but then they will put me in jail and they wouldn't do parole for me. I'd be in there forever."

The executive director for the Parole Board released the following statement:

He was initially eligible for parole due to him having reached the age of 45 and having served over 20 years. He is now eligible for a re-hearing because it has been two years since his most recent denial on December 1, 2020.

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