The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

March 15, 2014

Parole denied for Jenks man in woman's 1977 murder

TULSA — The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has denied parole for a Jenks man serving a life prison sentence for the 1977 murder of an equestrienne.

The board on Friday voted against recommending parole for Larry Chaney, who was convicted of killing Kendal Inez Ashmore, 35, six months after her abduction in March 1977, the Tulsa World reported Saturday.

Ashmore and Kathy Ann Brown, a 22-year-old horse trainer employed by Ashmore, were kidnapped in a failed extortion plot and found dead in a shallow grave on a tract of land Chaney owned near Sallisaw.

Chaney initially was sentenced to death for Ashmore’s murder. His sentence was changed to life in prison in 1984 after a federal appeals court ruled that prosecutors had withheld FBI evidence from defense attorneys.

Ashmore’s daughter, Laura Blevins, has said she did not want Chaney released from custody.

“I’m just thrilled and relieved,” she said after Chaney’s parole request was denied.

Chaney and his supporters appeared before the board via a video feed from the Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown.

Glen Burke of Durant, a former prison chaplain and Chaney’s longtime friend, said he believed Chaney would be “an outstanding citizen” if given parole.

“Larry is not the type of person who would be a threat to anyone,” Burke said in a prepared statement.

Chaney said little except to answer a question regarding his disciplinary record, which showed no activity for more than two decades.

“I’m trying not to put myself in a position to receive write-ups. (I) try to serve the Lord and do what I’m supposed to do here,” he said.

Burke referred to a favorable score on a past risk assessment, a tool used to identify how likely an offender is to reoffend, and Chaney’s work record in the cafeteria, the prison case workers’ office and teaching carpentry as evidence in support of a parole recommendation.

In 2011, the board recommended Chaney’s sentence be commuted to 85 years with eligibility for community-level work release. Gov. Mary Fallin denied that recommendation.

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