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Parole denied for murderess

MARYSVILLE — Sean Howard of Marion can rest easy. The woman who shot and killed his mother 24 years ago was officially denied parole again this week by the state.

The Ohio Reformatory for Women confirmed today that convicted murderer Brenda C. Lewis, 54, will stay in prison another five years.

On June 20, 1989, Lewis reportedly followed Katherine Dixon Howard into a Marion convenience store, shot her four times in the back, and then waited for the police to arrive.

Lewis was convicted in 1990 and has waited in jail ever since.

Friday morning, Sean Howard and his two sisters, Chrystal and Christie, were joined by dozens of their friends and supporters outside the ORW grounds in Marysville. They picketed for several hours along the edge of Collins Avenue, urging cars to honk their horns, as they asked for the denial of Lewis’ parole.

In the end, ORW officials told the group the judgment was delayed and referred to the Central Office Board Review of the Ohio Parole Board in Columbus for further review.

Although the decision was expected to take another 30 to 60 days, the board needed less than a week to make the ruling.

The board did not provide details on the decision before press time today.

The Marion Star newspaper, however, reported today that the board’s judgment explained Lewis needed “to engage in risk-relevant programming suited to address her specific risk factors that led to the criminal behavior and thinking.” Members of the board further said the inmate must “develop a release plan and demonstrate the ability to function appropriately in general population within the institution.”

Lewis was ultimately denied parole because her release “would not further the interest of justice and would diminish the seriousness of this offense.”

Sean Howard said Lewis has always had it in for his family.

“She has been in prison for 24 years. I think she should stay in there another 24,” he said. “She could get out and come after me or my sisters.”

The family said they would have preferred another 10-year extension on Lewis’ prison term, but were happy with the five they got. They will return to picket the ORW again to ensure she stays incarcerated for life.

Although unavailable for comment before press time today, Crystal Howard told the Marion Star she was relieved by the parole board’s final decision.

“I was able to sleep last night,” she was quoted as saying.

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