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WAAY 31 I-TEAM: Victims' families praise passage of bill to reform Alabama parole board

Victims' families are pleased the bill passed and hope this will lead to change.

Posted: May 31, 2019 4:30 PM
Updated: May 31, 2019 6:55 PM

On Friday, victims' families told the WAAY 31 I-Team they're pleased some reform is coming to Alabama's Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The governor and attorney general demanded the board show more respect to those families, back in October 2018. 

Tonia Hutto-Bass wrote letter after letter, emailed and called just about every lawmaker in the state asking them to pass the parole bill. She did all of this to fight for her brother.

"He probably would have said, 'I am proud of you sissy. That's what you do, you go get them,'" said Tonia Hutto-Bass, as she described what her late brother, Bryan, would say to her right now.

She fought for Bryan, because she's his voice now. Bryan was murdered in 2010. His killer came up for an early parole hearing in October after only serving about seven years on a life sentence. The board said it canceled the hearing as soon as it learned of the mistake, but that did little to comfort Hutto-Bass.

"Shocked and angered. We didn't expect it to be early, not that early," said Hutto-Bass.

She does find comfort in knowing Governor Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall have more oversite of the board and the soon-to-be law stops early paroles and strengthens victim notification.

"It's given me confidence in the fact that the governor and attorney general will now have the control they need over them and do the changes we need," said Hutto-Bass.

Bass thanks Senator Cam Ward, House Representative Connie Rowe and other state leaders for getting the parole bill passed.

"I sent letters to everybody I could. I talked to everybody I could. This is important and it makes you step out of your own box," said Hutto-Bass.

Hutto-Bass said the pain of losing someone to a violent crime never stops, but repeated errors by the parole board can.

"Someone else doesn't have to go through this," she said.

Alabama Parole Board Chair Lyn Head refused to give WAAY 31 a comment about the bill after it passed the Senate on Thursday.

The governor's office said it doesn't have a time frame on when the bill will be signed, because it's in a review process, which is standard for any bill. However, Ivey said she will be signing it. After it's signed into law, the changes will take effect in three months.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 190891

Reported Deaths: 2374
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30755458
Davidson26474306
Hamilton944394
Knox937879
Rutherford929389
Williamson525236
Sumner481998
Wilson347645
Putnam331540
Montgomery307044
Unassigned29495
Bradley293417
Out of TN289627
Madison287764
Sevier262315
Blount251624
Maury236124
Washington229736
Robertson221035
Sullivan216433
Hamblen191426
Tipton181819
Gibson165823
Trousdale16577
Hardeman157026
Wayne14975
Dyer137014
Bedford134517
Dickson125715
Coffee123613
Cumberland120118
Weakley118919
Fayette118819
Henderson118124
Anderson117913
Loudon11726
Obion117110
Carter116828
Greene115644
Jefferson111914
McMinn111925
Warren10617
Macon105521
Lawrence104313
Monroe103618
Hardin103016
Lauderdale98316
Franklin9699
Haywood96921
Lake9192
Roane8954
Carroll88920
McNairy88318
Bledsoe8544
White8379
Rhea83412
Hawkins81218
Cheatham80710
Marshall7565
Cocke7469
Overton7456
Smith72311
Johnson7112
Chester63210
Henry6259
Lincoln6191
Giles60717
Hickman5858
DeKalb56614
Crockett53819
Marion5298
Decatur5207
Fentress5053
Campbell4464
Claiborne4425
Polk38810
Grainger3763
Union3591
Benton3369
Jackson3265
Morgan3173
Grundy2915
Cannon2860
Unicoi2861
Humphreys2513
Sequatchie2332
Clay2265
Meigs2263
Houston2203
Scott2142
Stewart2042
Lewis2011
Moore1751
Van Buren1660
Perry1500
Pickett1162
Hancock1063

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