Man convicted of wife's murder denied parole

Published: Aug. 20, 2015 at 1:28 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2015 at 1:28 AM CDT
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MARSHALL COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The family of a murdered Marshall County woman was present at a hearing in Montgomery Wednesday, at which they learned the man convicted of killing her will not be released on parole, according to The Arab Tribune.

David Johnston was convicted for the 2000 beating death of his wife, Kelley Rutledge Johnston.

At the time of her death, Kelley had a protection order against Johnston.

The decision to keep Johnston in prison came after only a brief moment's deliberation; the board also ruled that Johnston will not be eligible for parole for another five years, the maximum allowed by state law.

The board heard from Johnston's mother and sister, then from those opposing his early release, including Kelley's son, Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall, and a representative of state Attorney General Luther Strange.

Kelley's father, Daniel Rutledge, said Wednesday's ruling is a small victory, while acknowledging that in another five years, the process will start all over again - but he will be there at the parole hearing again.

"What we hope is... that he stays in jail for life," Rutledge said. "If it has to be for five years at a time, then that's what it has to be."

Since Kelley's death, legislation has been passed in her name. "Kelley's Law" makes it a capital offense to murder someone when a protective order is in place over the victim. A conviction under the law allows for a sentence of life in prison without parole.

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