Finding a new normal. Creating a new life. Both are part of a widow’s reality. What happens when the past can’t stay in the past? What happens when the widow must repeatedly revisit the time of her husband’s death? Can we help her?
That is the reality for Cheryl Cole-Candeleresi, Cincinnati, Ohio. She’d been married only two years to her high school sweetheart, David Cole, when he was murdered in 1974. Two men were convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of the police officer and National Guardsman, making Cheryl a widow.
In the late seventies, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the Ohio death penalty unconstitutional. At that time, all those Ohio inmates who had been sentenced to death had their sentences commuted. Since Ohio did not have a “life sentence without parole” option then, the men automatically became eligible for parole hearings.
The first time the men convicted of killing the police officer came up for parole, no one from David Cole’s family, the police department, or the prosecution’s office was notified. Because Cheryl didn’t know about the hearing, she didn’t testify, and with 50 letters sent in on behalf of the first man, he was released. Later the Supreme Court simply said that a mistake had been made in not notifying those concerned with the case.
Once Cole’s widow, learned about the parole hearing and the first man’s release, she began her campaign to keep the other man behind bars. Every few years she has to repeat the process.
When an inmate has a hearing and parole is denied, the board must then set a timeline for the next appeal. The longest time allowed is ten years.
The last time the inmate came up for parole; over 9000 letters were sent in urging the parole be denied. In addition, Cheryl and others testified in person. Retired Police Lieutenant Steve Kramer believes the more letters the parole board receives, the more likely the convicted man will stay behind bars and have his length of time before the next hearing extended. Cheryl and others will testify before the parole board on February 13 and his hearing will be in March.
She has remarried, has children and grandchildren. She said, “I’m lucky to have a family that supports me through all of this.”
To help support Cole-Candeleresi and the police of Ohio, go to the parole board page http://www.hcpros.org/inmate/roland-reaves?modal=true&iid=A14082700&parole=Roland_A._Reaves, and leave a comment encouraging the parole board to both deny his parole, and give him another ten years before he can apply again. As Cheryl Cole-Candeleresi said, “we need justice for David and safety for everyone else.”
Here I usually ask my readers to leave a comment with their opinions. However, today, I’m urging you to go to the website above, before February 13, and encourage the Ohio parole board to deny this man’s release.
The original story can be found here: http://www.fox19.com/story/34418885/fallen-officers-widow-wants-convicted-killer-to-stay-behind-bars