Justin Griffith, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Pulaski County, isn’t mining words.
He wants to make sure that Stephen Epperly remains in prison for a 1980 murder and made that clear in two letters he sent to the parole board ahead of Epperly’s parole board interview on Monday.
“He is exactly where he needs to be and he needs to remain there for the rest of his natural life,” Griffith said in one of his letters that he sent to the parole board last month. “Freedom should not now be nor should it ever be an option for him.”
Epperly is convicted of killing Radford University student Gina Renee Hall more than 40 years ago. Her body has never been found and Epperly has filed for parole on his life sentence every chance he has gotten. His murder conviction was the first to happen in Virginia without a body.
“I requested an appointment to meet face to face with the parole board imploring them to listen to my objections and keep him incarcerated until he takes his last breath,” Griffith said. “I have said it before and I will say it again, the only way he should ever leave prison is in a pine box.”
[Bill named in honor of Radford University student would prevent some murderers from getting parole]
According to his letter, Griffith plans to bring Everett Shockley to his meeting with the parole board. Shockley was the prosecutor on Epperly’s case.
Griffith and Shockley aren’t alone in their objection to Epperly’s possible parole.
“We’ve been fighting parole for decades, every three years and since 2016 we had three back to back,” Gina’s sister Diana Hall Bodmer, who has been searching for answers in her sister’s death for years, told 10 News in August 2020.
You can see our full story with Bodmer below:
Bodmer is working to change Virginia’s parole laws with the help of state legislators who are considering Senate Bill 5103, sponsored by Senator Ben Chafin. The bill is better known as Gina’s Bill.
It’s unclear when a final decision will be made in regards to Epperly’s parole.
You can read Griffith’s full letter to the parole board below: