Victim's Family Leads Efforts to Keep Sussex Murderer in Prison
LEWES, Del. - A Sussex County family is asking for the community's help to keep a murderer behind bars.
Deer hunters found the body of Douglas Brockway Jr., 18, in a wooded area outside of Lewes in November 1987. Court records show the body had multiple gunshot wounds.
The discovery came weeks after Brockway left to go squirrel hunting with Ransford Bryan III, the man later charged in the murder, and never returned home. Court records show Bryan, who was also 18, was a friend and staying with the family at the time of the death.
The victim had just graduated from Cape Henlopen High School.
"We both loved baseball, so we were constantly outside playing catch," said Melissa Walls, Brockway's sister.
Bryan is scheduled for a parole hearing next Tuesday in Smyrna, the fourth since he was incarcerated.
Walls and her family are leading the efforts to keep Bryan behind bars, including circulating a petition that Walls said has gathered roughly 500 signatures.
"I just let them know that we don't think it's fair that he would be allowed out, free to live his life and do what he wants, when he took the life of my brother," Walls said.
Bryan is serving a life sentence for murder in the second degree as part of a plea deal, said John Painter, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Correction. Bryan has been behind bars for roughly 24 years at the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown, Painter said.
A jury found Bryan guilty of murder in the first degree but the conviction was later tossed and a new trial ordered by the Delaware Supreme Court. Bryan's lawyer at the time, Jack Rubin of Baltimore, appealed the case arguing police interviewed the defendant without legal counsel present despite Rubin's direct orders not to do so.
Reached by telephone on Tuesday, Rubin declined to comment on the possible parole saying he had lost touch with Bryan. However, he said Bryan was "soft spoken, low key. The person you'd least expect to do what he did."
Painter said a media interview with Bryan could not be arranged with such short notice.
Bryan's father could not be reached.
Inmates must apply to be considered for parole, said Arianna Banks, administrative specialist with the state parole board.
The board is made up of five members who consider a variety of factors in their decision: criminal history, nature of time served, rehabilitative efforts, employment plans and input from the community, according to the agency website.
Banks said the parole board members would likely make a decision the day of the hearing.
Walls has attended previous parole hearings for Bryan and said she will be present on Tuesday.
"It's hard. We relive it every four years now," Walls said. "It just brings all the emotions back."
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:19 AM EDT2013-05-18 14:19:20 GMT
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