Family fights to keep sister’s killer in jail

LEBANON, Ohio (WDTN)– Three women fight to keep their sister’s killer behind bars for the fourth time in nearly 14 years.

“Every time we think of ourselves as a family, we are minus one person that should never have been taken from us,” Teresa Mitchell said even after 29 years, the hurt is still there.

On a January night in 1985, her sister, Mary Mitchell, was gunned down during a robbery at the Riverside Convenience Store where she worked.

Dennis Roscoe Jones– 18-years-old at the time– was convicted and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

He was first up for parole in 2001.

“It does mean re living the nightmare every single time we go through this.”

Jones was denied parole in 2001, then again in 2006 and 2011.

Each time, Mitchell’s sisters reiterate to the parole board why they believe Jones should not be released.

In 2011, they learned Jones had been attending rehabilitation classes, was recognized for good behavior, and wrote a letter of remorse.

They don’t believe that’s good enough, “He killed once, what’s stopping him from killing again?” said Pat Johnson, Mitchell’s sister.

Montgomery County Prosecutor, Mat Heck, personally handled this case back in 1985.

“There are certain people who have to stay in the penitentiary– this is one of those people,” said Heck.

He said he’s seen too many cases where a criminal is released, then kills again in a matter of months.

“This is a community issue, and it’s very important that we stay involved all the way, and explain to the parole board who hears these cases, what happened.”

Mitchell’s family said they hope and pray every time, that Jones will be denied parole. They also said nothing can erase the pain.

“Even if he stays in prison, even if he dies in prison, it’ll still haunt us the rest of our lives.”

Jones remains in the Lebanon Correctional Institute.

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