Support comforts Stephanie's family
Published 4:13 am Wednesday, October 20, 2004
When Sallie and Ray King go to Montgomery next month to protest the possible parole of the man who killed their daughter, Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith will be with them.
Smith was an almost-brand-new police chief in Brewton in 1988, the year that Stephanie Marie King died.
Edward Russell Dubose was charged with Stephanie's murder in December of 1988. The sixty-some-odd days between the murder and the arrest were tough ones in Brewton. Many people were questioned; many were criticized. No doubt, everyone who knew Stephanie was hurting.
Read newspaper files from that year and you'll realize Stephanie's murder shook this community, that those who believed before Oct. 22, 1988, that they lived in a totally safe community were shocked. Many were terrified.
Dubose was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty in 1989. His conviction was overturned in 1995 by an appellate court which ruled that a request for funds to hire an independent DNA expert for the defense should have been granted.
In 1997, Dubose plead guilty to murder in the Escambia County Circuit Court and was sentenced to life in prison. On Nov. 1, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole will decide if 16 years is enough, if Dubose should be released.
Like Stephanie King's family and friends, Smith doesn't think so.
Others in the law enforcement community had been equally supportive, Sallie King said, and also will attend the parole hearing in November on Stephanie's behalf.
District Attorney Mike Godwin said both he and attorney Reo Kirkland, who prosecuted the case for th county, will attend.
He said the attorney general's office will be there as well.
This past weekend, someone posted the information about the impending parole hearing to the T.R. Miller Class of 1989 web site. The class - Stephanie's class -- was 112 members strong. Mrs. King said Monday their responses have been overwhelming.
She's receiving letters from across the United States and across the world. One classmate is sending a letter from Kuwait. Others plan to attend the parole hearing with the King family.
Last week, Stephanie's family was afraid this community had forgotten. Now they know that it has not.
If you would like to join the Kings in protesting Dubose's possible parole, email Mrs. King at firstname.lastname@example.org. She'll respond with the information that must be included for letters of protest to be part of the evidence considered by the Pardons and Parole Board.
And she'll be comforted for a moment in the knowledge that people have not forgotten and that they do care.