Parole denied: Families protest release for inmate

Published 2:00am Saturday, July 20, 2013

When a member of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles asked about opposition in the release of Ethan Eugene Dorsey, VOCAL Representative Jeanette Grantham gave her response quickly and concisely: “We want a pine box parole.”
Grantham was not alone in her opinion with nearly 30 family members and friends on hand to request that Dorsey remain behind bars.
Dorsey has spent the last 17 years behind bars for his part in the shooting death of three Brewton area men.
Richard Cary, Bryan Crane and Scott Williams were all killed when Dorsey and his partner, Calvin Middleton, carried out a plan to rob The Country Store in the Brooklyn community in 1996. Middleton took a plea bargain in the case and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his part in the crime.
A brief hearing — with no one standing up on Dorsey’s behalf — ended with a staunch denial of parole for the inmate for at least another five years.
“That’s just the way it should be,” Carolyn Kennedy said. “I’m just relieved.”
Kennedy, Cary’s sister, was joined in her sentiments by every other member of the families attending the hearing.
“I’m very satisfied with the answer,” Mike Crane said. “That’s what it needed to be.”
In the weeks preceding Wednesday’s hearing family members of the slain men worked together to gather signatures of people who stood with them in opposing the release of Dorsey.
“We had 3,374 signatures and I had another sheet with 40 more on it,” Hazel Williams Carter, sister to Scott Williams, said. “I’m not sure how many other signatures were brought in by others for the hearing, but so many people feel the same way we do about this — that Dorsey doesn’t need to be let go.”
Carter was set to speak on behalf of her slain-brother’s family and was to be joined by Courtney Crane, Brad Cary and Ben Crane. But, the four would never have to give their prepared speeches to board members.
Cliff Walker, a member of the board of pardons and paroles, told those appearing on behalf of the victims in the case there was no need to drag out the proceedings.
“Since there is no one on the other side, no advocate for the inmate, I don’t see the need to prolong these proceedings,” Walker said.
Walker then instructed those who had requested to speak at the hearing to introduce themselves by name and relationship to the victims and to indicate whether they opposed or approved the release of Dorsey. Each stated they “opposed” the request for Dorsey’s parole.
“With the response from a host of friends and relatives in this case, I think (Dorsey) is going to be in for a pine box parole,” Walker said. “He will not be eligible for parole against until 2018.”
Following the hearing, Grantham said the reason for the “pine box” comment is to keep the comments as brief and to the point as possible.
“I’ve been the victim, too,” Grantham said. “We want the board members to know how we stand and to say we want a pine box parole means we want him to stay where he is until he dies.”
Mike Crane, an uncle to victim Bryan Crane, said the weeks leading up to the parole hearing gave the family evidence that the community supports them and what they have endured since the deaths of the three men.
“We are just overwhelmed with the support that’s been shown for these victims and to our families,” Crane said. “The decision that was made was the right one for everyone.”
Judy Crane, Bryan Crane’s aunt, said the decision made by the board Wednesday is one the entire group of family and friends of the victims were hoping to hear.
“I’m ecstatic,” Judy Crane said. “I just wish we didn’t have to look at having to do this again in five years.
“But, for the answer we got, it was worth the trip.”

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