A convicted murderer was released to help reduce COVID-19 spread in prison
( Blaze )
A woman convicted of a brutal murder was released 19 years into what was supposed to be a minimum 84-year sentence because the prison was concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19, KOVR-TV reported.
Terebea Williams, 44, was convicted in 2001 of the 1998 murder of 23-year-old John Ruska. Williams carjacked Ruska, put him in the trunk of his own car, shot him in the abdomen, drove 750 miles with him in the trunk, then tied him up in a hotel room where he suffered for hours alone before dying.
Neither police nor prosecutors could ever figure out why she committed the crime, particularly why she subjected Ruska to such extreme suffering when she could've just taken his car and left him alone from there.
Now, the criminal who committed a shockingly senseless and brutal murder is out of prison as the state attempts to create space to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation did not give specifics in response to KOVR's inquiry about why Williams was among the people released, but pointed the media outlet to a general statement about the release program:
These series of actions are driven by the department's singular goal of ensuring the health of our incarcerated population and staff, and aim to be done in a way that aligns both public health and public safety. Reducing the prison population will also alleviate the impact on local hospitals that provide emergency care to individuals in prisons experiencing outbreaks, which can require transporting dozens of patients to outside hospitals for care.
Ruska's family, furious and hurt that his killer has been released, said the situation just reopens old wounds about the tragedy.
"It's appalling to me everything that's been allowed to happen," Karri Phillips, Ruska's cousin, told KOVR. "I don't think for one second she's going to walk out there a changed person, she's not. It makes me so sad and angry that he hasn't been here with us all this time."
An update Thursday on the CDCR website reported there are just under 100,000 inmates in California prisons, and 1,607 inmates were infected with COVID-19. The report also said this is the first time California's prison population has been under 100,000 in three decades.