Eligible for parole
The murder of Marguerite Vinyard on Aug. 4, 1984, shook Lawrence.
Former Douglas County District Attorney Jerry Harper said the case had residents on edge for weeks - from the time investigators found the body of the 80-year-old woman in her home at 2100 Tenn. until they arrested her 18-year-old neighbor, Donald E. Alexander.
Vinyard's murder and other homicide cases around that time interrupted several peaceful years in Douglas County.
"This was just a direct assault on that," said Harper, who still maintains a private law practice in Lawrence.
In early 1985, Alexander was convicted of raping and beating Vinyard to death during a burglary. During his trial, jurors heard about his confessions to police and other physical evidence found inside Vinyard's home.
After 22 years in prison, Alexander, now 41, is up for consideration of parole during an April hearing. He also was up for consideration in 2002.
District Court Judge Michael Malone had sentenced Alexander to serve a life sentence for the first-degree murder conviction and consecutively serve 15 years to life for the rape conviction. Alexander was to concurrently serve five to 20 years for the burglary. He now is an inmate at the Wichita Work Release Center.
Because parole board members consider a range of issues in a case, including a convict's prison behavior, Harper said he typically does not get involved in hearings of those arrested or convicted of serious crimes during his time as district attorney. He has written letters before to parole boards in other cases when victims' family members have asked, he said.
Another inmate, Kevin Bryant McFarlane, 41, who was convicted for a 1989 robbery in Douglas County and several other crimes in Wyandotte and Johnson counties, also is eligible for a parole hearing.
The Kansas Parole Board will hear public comment on anyone being considered for parole. Public meetings will be:¢ 8:30 a.m. March 23, Topeka, Landon State Office Building, first floor, Room 106A, 900 SW Jackson St.¢ 10 a.m. to noon March 26, Kansas City, Kan., City Hall, 701 N. Seventh St.¢ 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 29, Wichita, Finney State Office Building, third floor, Room 3080, 230 William St.¢ Written comments can be mailed to the board at Landon State Office Building, Room 452 S, Topeka 66612-1220.