A 52-year-old man convicted of murdering a child in Lawrence more than two decades ago has been denied parole, according to a statement today from the Kansas Department of Corrections.
John William was eligible for release from prison this year and met with the Kansas parole board earlier this month. He has been in prison since 1989, 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, William has been in Kansas prisons and Larned State Hospital. Jeremy Barclay, a department of corrections spokesman, said the parole board rejected William's bid for parole this month, citing the violence of the crime and the objections of the victim's family. The parole board also reported that William still denies responsibility for the murder.
The parole board decided that William will next be eligible for parole in 2021, which is a longer period of time than the three or five years that most inmates must wait between hearings, Barclay said.
"The board was exceedingly opposed to his release," Barclay said, because William had not presented plans in his parole hearing for life after his release from prison. Inmates usually develop those plans in cooperation with prison authorities. "The board feels that eight years might be a good amount of time for him to develop those plans."
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson had said earlier this year that his office would also oppose William's release.