Just because an inmate incarcerated in a Kansas Department of Corrections facility is eligible for parole doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is suitable for parole.
The emphasis on that distinction last week by the Kansas Prisoner Review Board resulted in convicted murderer Francis Donald Nemechek being able to list the Lansing Correctional Facility as his home of record for at least the next 10 years. Along with the family and friends of Nemechek’s multiple victims, we are grateful the judicial system worked as intended.
Certain members of society who’ve committed heinous atrocities simply don’t deserve the privilege of living amongst the rest of us.
Nemechek certainly qualifies for inclusion in that group. The WaKeeney native received five consecutive life sentences for murdering four women and a 2-year-old boy in the 1970s. In three separate savage incidents, Nemechek, now 66, took the lives of:
• Paula Fabrizius, 16, Ellis;
• Carla Baker, 20, Hays;
• Cheryl Young, 21, Fort Madison, Iowa;
• Guy Young, 2, Fort Madison, and
• Diane Lovette, 19, also of Fort Madison.
None of the five was able to survive the violent rages of Nemechek — all cut short long before their time should have been up. On the other hand, their murderer’s time on Earth has gone long beyond his due, primarily because his crimes were committed before the death penalty was reinstated in Kansas.
By the same statutory authority that allowed a judge to impose lifelong sentences, Nemechek receives parole hearings every 10 years.
On Thursday, the review board “passed” on the murderer’s bid for parole, denying him based on strong community opposition, the serious and violent nature of his crimes to multiple victims, the lasting effect of the murders and Nemechek’s failure to demonstrate “behavioral insights necessary to decrease his risk to re-offend,” according to information from the Kansas Department of Corrections.
We applaud the efforts of those who amassed signatures from around the country to oppose Nemechek’s parole, yet we’re sorry they have to revisit painful memories each time they do it.
Still, state law demands such hearings take place. At least it won’t be until July 2027 the next one will be scheduled.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry