Victim's mother petitions to keep murderer behind bars - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Victim's mother petitions to keep murderer behind bars

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Johnson was previously denied parole in 2009. Johnson was previously denied parole in 2009.
Johnson was convicted of killing 18-year-old Shelaine Maxwell in 1998. Johnson was convicted of killing 18-year-old Shelaine Maxwell in 1998.
LAUDERDALE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

A mother's plea to keep her daughter's killer behind bars is reaching thousands on the internet.

Convicted killer Corey Johnson is serving a life sentence for the 1998 murder of Shelaine Maxwell in Lauderdale County. Johnson is facing a second parole hearing, after being denied early release once before in 2009.

Maxwell's mother is asking the community to sign a petition or write a letter on Shelaine's behalf to keep her killer off the streets. "It's like living a nightmare. If I don't compartmentalize it in my brain, I would probably be in an institution somewhere," said Janice Jones.

It's been 16 years since Corey Johnson murdered Shelaine Maxwell. Her body was found several days after her murder, in the backseat of a car. She was 18 years old.

"She was a fun-loving girl. She was a cheerleader in school, she played softball. She loved everybody, she had a boyfriend. She was engaged at the time and life was just starting for her," said Jones.

Even after more than a decade, Jones still struggles to talk about her daughter's untimely death.

"It's never over; every time one of these parole hearings comes up it opens it back up. The rest of the time you can kind of put it… in the little compartment in your head and go on with life, but when you're trying to get help to keep him in there, and you have to explain the situation over and over, it brings it all back," she said.

Jones said she is furious to know Johnson is considered a minimum-out, level two inmate. "He can only go out in public to a state or federal building, accompanied by prison guards and in his prison uniform, but still, he should never be outside the bars - ever," she said.

Since he's been behind bars, Corey Johnson has received 10 disciplinary actions, and is still approved for supervised work both on and off the property - a status Jones feels he doesn't deserve.

Jones said she will never stop fighting to keep Corey Johnson in prison. She feels certain he will kill again if he ever gets out. "It could be your daughter next. It could be anyone's daughter next. Any woman could be in danger from him," she said.

Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly is urging the community to help in the fight to keep Johnson locked up. "We urge people to sign the petition that Janice has out, and then contact the parole board and the Department of Corrections," Connolly said. "They're two different entities... the parole board decides if he gets paroled, and the other thing is the Department of Corrections is classifying him in these work facilities, [and that] is wrong."

Jones' petition to keep Johnson imprisoned is available for you to review and sign online.

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