VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB) - Convicted killer Samuel Galbraith is suing the state of Louisiana for rescinding his parole on April 21, 2017, just two days before he was set to walk free after serving less than a third of his sentence for a 1988 homicide. The former Fort Polk soldier was sentenced to 71 years for manslaughter and the attempted first-degree rape of 21-year-old Karen Eads Hill.
Nearly a decade passed before Samuel Galbraith was arrested for the 1988 death of 21-year-old Karen Hill. | Image Source: KALB
Vernon Parish District Attorney Asa Skinner's strongly opposed granting Galbraith parole along with Hill's family and law enforcement in Vernon Parish. His stance hasn't changed.
"Somebody like that should not be granted, in my opinion, leniency to this extent where he is released back into society."
Galbraith's attorneys are asking a judge to reinstate his parole, citing a violation of due process. A hearing for the Complaint of Declaratory and Injunctive Relief motion is postponed indefinitely as of March 12th. In 2017, the Louisiana Parole Board said a clerical error in notifying the victim's family led to their decision. Galbraith's attorney disputes that, calling it 'fabrication of the truth.' The suit also said, "Galbraith became a political football" for Governor John Bel Edwards' criminal justice reform proposals. Attorney's also said the board failed to provide Galbraith notice of the possibility of his parole rescission or a chance to challenge it.
"Just because you apply for parole doesn't mean you'll get it," said Skinner. "Most defendants don't have nine years of freedom after they commit a horrendous crime like this," he added, referring to the length of time between Hill's death and Galbraith's conviction.
"I guess he's got the right to claim that but I've got the right to say I don't think anything was violated on him," said retired VPSO investigator Kenneth Williams, who worked Hill's case. "As a matter of fact, I think he got off very easy. It wouldn't have bothered me one bit if he had gotten the death penalty."
But justice for Karen's family isn't the only reason why Williams and Marvin Hilton, also a retired VPSO investigator believe Galbraith should stay behind bars. The veteran detectives and the current VPSO Cold Case Team still consider Galbraith a person of interest in the homicides of Pamela Miller and Tammy Call. Both are similar to Karen's, abducted and possibly assaulted and occurring when Galbraith was stationed at Fort Polk.
"I want to see my family, your family and everyone else's family stay safe. We certainly need to not allow individuals who commit a violent crime like this to be released back into the public," said Hilton.
Williams said Galbraith "may refrain from it for a short time but he will revert back. And all the schools that I've gone to, all the studies that have been done on serial killers--they don't quit just out of the clear blue sky."
Although Galbraith's attorneys describe him as a 'model prisoner,' William's memory of Karen's lifeless body sits in stark contrast with Galbraith's record in prison.
"I'll live with it the rest of my life. It doesn't leave. And the pictures that I saw of Karen Hill tied to that tree and shot is in my mind just like it was yesterday."
VPSO's person of interest has never been questioned. When the Texas native was extradited to Louisiana in 1997 in connection to Karen's death, Hilton says Galbraith was uncooperative, refusing to talk about Miller and Call.
"Galbraith denied ever having contact with Karen. He stated that certainly, he didn't do it."
For now, Galbraith's call for freedom is stalled in the courts, continued without date. Meanwhile, detectives are still solving the puzzle of Pamela and Tammy's tragic deaths--which they say might not be as much of a mystery after all.
"Oh he's a suspect," said Williams. "Not a person of interest."