Archive for Thursday, June 6, 2013

Man convicted of killing Lawrence boy in 1988 up for parole this month

June 6, 2013


John William

John William

A 52-year-old man convicted of murdering a child in Lawrence more than two decades ago could be paroled next month, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections.

John William was a 29-year-old with no fixed address when he was convicted in the July 1988 killing and mutilation of a 9-year-old Lawrence boy. Richard Settlemyre's body was found along the Kansas River two days after he was last seen fishing with William. His head, hands and feet were severed from the body, and other wounds were discovered on the body.

William was convicted of first-degree murder on Nov. 17, 1989, after a weeklong trial. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Since then, the 6-foot-9, 325-pound William has been in Kansas prisons and Larned State Hospital. After a parole hearing at El Dorado prison next Tuesday and Wednesday, William could be released at the beginning of July.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson has said his office will oppose William's release.


Tom McCune 4 years, 6 months ago

I'm sorry, but this is what capital punishment was intended for. And don't give me that baloney about how expensive it is. Properly administered, this guy would have been edited out of the gene pool 19 years ago.

irvan moore 4 years, 6 months ago

good for branson, I remember when this happened, it was a horrible crime

Nash45 4 years, 6 months ago

I'm 100% with you on this. But in the BTK situation, he committed his crimes before the death penalty was reinstated in the state Kansas or something along those lines.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 6 months ago

Kansas didn't have the death penalty at the time this crime was committed.

Maracas 4 years, 6 months ago

So 23 years in prison is just the right amount of time to consider releasing someone for the horrible and brutal murder of a child? And he spent part of that time in Larned State Security Hospital? And it's a good idea to consider releasing him back into society? I hope, if this happens, that he doesn't come to Lawrence. And I hope no one else gets killed or otherwise harmed.

Bursting 4 years, 6 months ago

I don't think anyone on this planet thinks releasing that guy is a good idea. Kinda makes me question our "system" a bit.

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 6 months ago

I doubt he will get released. This is a notice of a parole hearing. He will be evaluated by the parole board for release. I expect they will deny him parole.

RubyVrooom 4 years, 6 months ago

I have a 9 year old son myself so this is making me feel a bit sick. More details in the story linked below, looks like he was involved in the death of another child too:

someguy 4 years, 6 months ago

At least he got locked up for a while. If his trial had occurred under Branson's watch he would have pleaded down to misdemeanor assault.

Robert Wells 4 years, 6 months ago

He killed a defenseless 9 year old boy. You mean you can be cured of that? {Larned Hospital} He will disappear into the homeless society and will be right back where he started. No wonder everyone wants to carry a gun. 325 lbs coming at you requires some potent fire power. Do they make holsters for AK-47's?

thefisherman 4 years, 6 months ago

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ontheright 4 years, 6 months ago

It's a waste of money to allow someone like this to remain in the system!

akt2 4 years, 6 months ago

I read on Wikipedia that Kansas hasn't executed anyone since 1976. 1st degree murder with aggravating factors is the only crime punishable by death, and lethal injection is the only method. If murdering and dismembering children doesn't warrant execution I don't know what would.

Clark Coan 4 years, 6 months ago

I remember that case and remember seeing the guy walking regularly in the downtown area. He cut the boy up into little pieces because the boy refused to have sex with him. We need to buy some islands in the Pacific and put people like him on it and leave them there for life.

Deb Engstrom 4 years, 6 months ago

He probably won't get out from his first parole hearing and could get passed for up to 5 years. When he does get, he will probably have gradual release to a half-way house or work-release center first. I'm sure he'll have some pretty close supervision.

somebodynew 4 years, 6 months ago

Deb, you are living in a fantasy world. Did you see the cuts this great Legislature just gave the Department of Corrections ?? They can't handle their case loads now, much less when there is less of them and more people on release.

And this guy will just slip into the homeless zone and no-one will be there to go search for him. Until he kills again.

James Minor 4 years, 6 months ago

How about Komodo Island? Let the convict try and cut off the head and legs of one of those dragons!

Curveball 4 years, 6 months ago

Latham and York were the last executed in Kansas on June 22, 1965. Hickock and Smith were hanged about 2 months earlier.

Tammy Copp-Barta 4 years, 6 months ago

I remember this case as well and pray this man is not released. I can only imagine what his family must be going through with this coming up AND the law enforcement officers that worked the case. I understand many of them had a really hard time with this one - as can be expected. Mr. Williams - you need to rot in hell ...

ResQd 4 years, 6 months ago

I also remember the case and believe this guy was a transient and befriended the boy and his family, before mutilating him. How ludicrous it would be if he were paroled. The picture of him, gives me the creeps!

Mark Currie 4 years, 6 months ago

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juma 4 years, 6 months ago

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KansasPerson 4 years, 6 months ago

Ian, do you know if the parole board is holding public comment sessions as they did at his parole hearing in 2003?

Liberty275 4 years, 6 months ago

The man committed a horrid crime and should never be given parole. He needs to die in prison.

I know it's easy to say he should get the death penalty, we should get a rope or we should banish him, but the first two should be unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishment and the third is plainly unconstitutional as there is no means for denying a citizen of that status.

Killing the boy was horrible and the man needs to be punished to the full extent of law, but execution is not the answer.

emict17 4 years, 6 months ago

Citizen status is revoked when you rape, kill and dismember... I hope there is a special place in hell for criminals like this guy. Still think we should opt to do a firing squad style execution or have a automaton fire the round that ends the life of criminals such as this. Seems like a much cheaper method of dealing with people who are broken and can't be fixed.

Liberty275 4 years, 6 months ago

We can disagree. I suggest you pray that if you are ever "broken" and commit a capital crime you get me on your jury.

FloridaSunshine 4 years, 6 months ago

Liberty, wow, can we ever disagree!! I can't even enter a discussion regarding this...not when I have a ten-year-old granddaughter!! Parole for this monster?? I think NOT!!

Some depravities are not open for discussion...and this is one. Period.

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 6 months ago

Liberty isn't arguing in favor of parole. In fact, Liberty says he opposes parole. He is not even arguing that a depravity is open for discussion (whether you follow that statement with a period, exclamation point, semi-colon, or what-have-you). He is only saying that the death penalty is unconstitutional and should not be on the table.

Florida, it doesn't behoove you to suggest he is saying things he isn't. If you disagree with his stance on the death penalty, that is fine. But don't say that because he opposes the death penalty, he supports parole for John William.

Liberty275 4 years, 6 months ago

"I don't know why you state that it is "easy" to say he should get the death penalty. "

Because we are often driven by emotion, at least initially.

"assure that such people NEVER can get back out into society again."

We can be fairly sure with supermax prisons. There always remains some minuscule risk of escape, but that is the price you pay for being a civilized nation.

"However, I don't see where it is cruel."

Is killing a man less cruel than cutting off his hand?

I won't fault you for your belief, but it isn't for me.

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