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Archive for Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Convicted murderers coming up for parole

June 8, 2005

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A man who killed an elderly woman in her Lawrence home nearly 21 years ago will soon be up for parole.

Donald E. Alexander, now 39, was a teenager in August 1984 when he raped and beat to death 80-year-old Marguerite L. Vinyard. Her body was found in her home at 2100 Tenn.

According to testimony in Alexander's 1985 trial, he broke into Vinyard's home, raped and then beat her to death with a "tire-knocker," which is a piece of wood weighted with lead used by truck drivers.

A jury found Alexander guilty of first-degree murder, rape and aggravated burglary. He is serving a life sentence in the Lansing Correctional Facility. If he is granted parole he could be released in August.

In an interview last year with the Journal-World, retired Lawrence police Detective Mike McCaffrey recalled questioning Alexander about the murder and finding him to be very nervous. Alexander told McCaffrey that on the night of the murder he had gone to a convenience store to buy a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes. Detectives found a partial pack of Luckys in Vinyard's garage, McCaffrey said.

Also soon to be up for parole from the Lawrence area is Alan K. Burke, convicted in Franklin County of arson and theft and convicted of first-degree murder in Cloud County. He is incarcerated in the Ellsworth Correctional Facility.

The public will have a chance to express opinions about the parole for Alexander, Burke and others during hearings later this month. The hearings will be held at the following dates and locations:

¢ June 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Wichita, Finney State Office Building, third floor, room 3080, 230 William St.

¢ June 24, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Topeka, Landon State Office Building, first floor, room 106 A, 900 S.W. Jackson St.

¢ June 27, 10 a.m. to noon, Kansas City, Kan., City Hall, 701 N. Seventh St.

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