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Ax Killer Gets First Chance at Parole in 2008

Ax Killer Gets First Chance at Parole in 2008



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An inmate who was once on death row for killing another man with an ax will get his first chance before the state parole board next year.

Elroy Tillman, who has served almost 25 years since the 1982 bludgeoning of another man with the blunt end of an ax, is scheduled to go before the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole in December 2008.

It will be his first chance at parole. Prosecutors have said they plan to lobby to keep Tillman, 72, in prison for the rest of his life.

Tillman has spent nearly 25 years behind bars for the May 26, 1982, slaying of Mark Schoenfeld. Prosecutors say Schoenfeld was dating a woman who had broken up with Tillman months earlier and Tillman was jealous.

Tillman was originally sentenced to death after being convicted of murder in 1983, but the death sentence was vacated in 2005 because of evidence that prosecutors misplaced and surfaced only weeks before Tillman was scheduled to be executed in 2001.

The Utah Supreme Court overturned Tillman's death sentence, but not his conviction. Prosecutors decided against trying to obtain a second death-penalty sentence. The parole board said this week that Tillman will get a chance to ask for his release in 2008. Parole board spokesman Jim Hatch said Tillman's parole hearing was scheduled three years after his December 2005 resentencing date, which was the board's rule at the time of Schoenfeld's death.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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