"If you can't do da time don't do the crime"
Former church elder denied parole Montana Standard - 2 hours, 35 minutes ago ANACONDA — Parole was denied Wednesday for a former Jehovah’s Witness church elder convicted of fleecing more than $7 million from a 100-year-old Deer Lodge woman’s trust estate. Former church elder denied parole Man convicted in 2003 for bilking elderly Deer Lodge woman out of $7 million By Vera Haffey - 03/24/2006
County attorney Chris Miller and Sheriff Scott F. Howard attended the hearing at the Cascade County Detention Facility in Great Falls, where Erickson is an inmate, and asked the parole board to deny his bid for freedom.
After listening to their objections and more voiced by victims and members of the late Una Anderson’s family, the board denied Erickson’s request, according to Jeff Walter, senior administrative officer for the state Board of Pardons in Deer Lodge.
It was good news for Anderson’s family, and for officials who believe the shortened punishment was not commensurate with the crime, according to Miller.
“Both Sheriff Howard and I were very pleased with the board’s decision to put Erickson over for three more years,” Miller said.
In making their decision, the parole board members considered Erickson’s refusal to accept responsibility for his actions or to acknowledge the harm done to Anderson, Miller said.
The decision was bad news for Erickson’s family, whose members testified about their own hardships related to the jail term. “The defendant and his family talked at length about what they had been through, but apparently were unconcerned about the impact of the crime on the victim,” Miller said. “I believe that his lack of empathy was a deciding factor.” In May 2003, Erickson and accomplice church elder Darryl K. Willis, 66, of Helena, were sentenced after pleading no contest in Powell County district court. They each received 10 years in prison with four years suspended for conspiracy and theft; three years with one suspended for conspiracy, and two years with one suspended securities fraud, all felonies. That amounts to an aggregate 25 years in prison with 10 suspended.
In a plea agreement, charges of misdemeanor elder abuse and two additional counts of securities fraud, two counts of theft, and perjury, all felonies, were dismissed.
The two were also ordered to pay $7.15 million in restitution on a joint and several basis, according to Department of Corrections spokesperson Bob Anez.
So far, $402.94 has been paid by Willis, and nothing has come from Erickson, Anez said.
Anderson, who died last year at the age of 103, lost her life savings and a 6,400-acre family ranch near Jens in an elaborate befriend-and-betray scheme perpetrated by the Jehovah’s Witness church elders.
A parole hearing for Willis is set for March 30 at 11:30 a.m. at Montana State Prison, where he’s an inmate.
Craig Thomas, executive director of the state Board of Probation and Parole in Deer Lodge, said all offenders convicted after 1995 are eligible for parole after they serve 25 percent of their sentences — unless restricted by a judge.
About 50 percent of the convicts are granted parole at their initial hearing, Thomas said.
“After their first appearance, the percentage goes down significantly,” Thomas added. — Reporter Vera Haffey may be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
Watchtower Jehovah's Witness Whistleblower Remember-You just can't fool all the people all the time,you can only fool all of the people some of the time,or some of the people all of the time.