Morristown murderer says he's changed, asks for parole

Morristown murderer says he's changed, asks for parole

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"I have done a lot of time. I have thought and thought and thought about it," Randy Lee May said. "I have done a lot of time. I have thought and thought and thought about it," Randy Lee May said.
Mitzi Holt says she won't ever recover from what she went through as a teen, but for now she has some sense of relief. Mitzi Holt says she won't ever recover from what she went through as a teen, but for now she has some sense of relief.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

PIKEVILLE (WATE) – After 31 years in prison, the man behind one of Hamblen County's most gruesome crimes was up for parole Thursday.

Randy Lee May was sentenced to life in prison after he raped and murdered Mary Jones, 16, and stabbed Mitzi Holt, 15, several times and left her in the woods in July 1980.

Mitzi is now 46. She and some of Mary's siblings went to the Southeastern Tennessee Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville to ask that May not be granted parole.

In the courtroom, a grey-haired, balding May told a parole board member he's not the same  man as he was more than three decades ago.

"I take full responsibility for my actions. I am now 54 years old. The incident happened when I was 22, and  I had just gotten out of service. I was trying to adjust to civilian life," May explained.

But for the family of Mary Jones, it does not matter how much time has passed. The images are still fresh.

"I can't imagine what she went through with all the fear and pain. Randy left her face down, gagged with a sock," said Mary's brother, J.D. Jones.

"I think he should stay here forever until the day he dies. That's my feelings," said Mary's sister, Loretta Jones, with tears in her eyes.

Then Mitzi Holt spoke. "She was brutally raped and murdered ma'am. He also tried to rape me. He unbuttoned and unzipped my shorts."

Mitzi was stabbed several times and had her throat cut by May. He left her bleeding in the woods, handcuffed to a tree. "There is no place for a man like this in a civilized world," she said.

May says he understands the anger, but he's repented for what he feels is long enough. "I have done a lot of time. I have thought and thought and thought about it," he said.

The parole board member overseeing the hearing sided with the victims and against May.

Holt says she won't ever recover from what she went through as a teen, but for now she has some sense of relief. "It felt great. I have to admit," she said.

However, the vote by one parole board member on Thursday is just one of four needed from the board to make a decision. A final decision is expected in the next two to three weeks.

If May is denied parole, he'll be up for it again in August 2016.

If you'd like to make your voice heard to the parole board, contact them by emailing William.b.henderson@tn.gov or faxing a letter to 423-881-4226 to the attention of "IPO."

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