MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) – Nearly 39 years to the day of a brutal murder and attack on two teenage girls in Morristown, the convicted killer could walk away a free man.
It’s a crime that rocked Hamblen County in 1980. Investigators say Randy May killed 16-year-old Mary Jones and savagely attacked 15-year-old Mitzi Sizemore.
Last year, we were there as family and friends demanded justice ahead of May’s parole hearing. Ultimately it was denied.
Next month, May will be sitting down in front of the state’s parole board for his seventh parole hearing.
Patti Conkin and Loretta Warner carry 39 years’ worth of newspaper headlines, petitions, court depositions and paperwork because they are their little sister, Mary Jones’ voice.
“I can’t remember her voice. Makes it hard,” said Conkin.
“It’s fresh like it happened yesterday because it brings everything flooding back,” added Warner.
On July 20, 1980, armed with a badge and handcuffs, May pretended to be a law enforcement officer. He coaxed Mary and her friend Mitzi into his car, then drove into the woods where he stabbed Mitzi in the chest, slashed her throat and handcuffed her to a tree before moving on to murder Mary. May left both girls to die, but only Mitzi escaped.
“He is dangerous, very dangerous,” said Warner.
May was given a life sentence and is serving it at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex. The Tennessee Department of Correction says May has only had two disciplinary incidents the entire time he’s been incarcerated: One in 2002 for solicitation of staff, and one in 2003 for violation of the offender personal property policy.
“I never want anybody to have to go through anything like this. It’s like a nightmare,” explained Conkin.
On August 27th, for the seventh time, the sisters will be continuing their battle to keep Mary’s killer in prison.
“There have been times when I sat about four feet away from him and nothing between us but the air,” said Conkin.
“We fight for her and we will fight until we’re done, until we’re gone,” added Warner.
The sisters say they’re angry that the justice system failed Mary.
“When we first saw her laying in the casket, you can tell she had been scared to death. The look on her face was frozen there,” said Conkin.
It’s why they’re hoping May is denied parole again.
“It doesn’t just affect me, it affects generations later,” said Warner.
As another year goes by, Warner and Conkin want us to remember Mary as the sweet, friendly, lovable teenager she was: “Every time I see a little redhead child I think of her.”
Parole board members reach their decision on whether to deny or approve parole based on the seriousness of the offense, time served, victim input and more. The state says parole board members have decided for some time to hear May’s case annually.
If you want to get involved:
Letters mailed to the board regarding this case will be added to May’s file and reviewed. If you would like to send a letter or an email of opposition, see the addresses below.
- Tennessee Board of Parole
Re: Randy May Parole Hearing
404 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243