Shocking reason keeping Rocky man in prison for life
HE'S spent more of his life behind bars than out of prison, but Kevin Henry's family say he'll stay inside while he continues to maintain innocence.
Henry was just 22 when he was convicted of the murder of Lynda (last name omitted out of respect for her family), whose body was found on the banks of the Fitzroy River in August 1991.
Yesterday his sister claimed he was not being released, despite serving 25 years, because he refused to say he was guilty.
On Monday, his family and supporters marked his 47th birthday with a rally at the Rockhampton Coast Guard building, formerly drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic Toonooba House, calling for justice.
The case has risen to prominence again through the podcast Curtain, where Rockhampton journalist Amy McQuire and human rights advocate Martin Hodgson believe they have enough evidence to justify an official pardon.
Lynda, a mother of four who had recently moved from South Australia, was staying at the facility when she was killed.
In a message read out to those at the rally, her family said they always believed Henry was innocent of murder.
Henry remains behind bars despite serving 25 years, having been refused parole again last month.
Over the course of several stories published in The Morning Bulletin, one question has repeatedly been asked: why is he still locked up?
His sister Roxanne Henry yesterday said she believes parole has continually been refused because her brother maintains his innocence.
She said a Capricornia Correctional Centre officer told her during a phone conversation that admitting guilt would be favourable to future parole applications.
The thought that her brother could remain in jail as long as he maintains innocence is distressing for Roxanne and her family, including her elderly mother.
Roxanne said she was "very angry" to be told he could be freed by saying he committed the crime.
"He wasn't a nasty person, he wasn't violent," she said.
"He was just a good boy growing up.
"He never did a violent thing in his life.
"No way in the wide world. Kevin is not like that."
Due to legislative privacy provisions, Queensland Corrective Services was unable to comment on this case specifically.
However, they provided the following statement to The Morning Bulletin when asked whether a prisoner who admitted guilt would be viewed more favourably by a parole board.
"Prisoners are typically incarcerated to a finite sentence by order of the court," a spokesperson said.
"In the case of prisoners convicted of murder, the offence attracts a mandatory life sentence, which means the prisoner will be imprisoned for life, unless granted parole by the parole board.
"If released to parole, life sentenced prisoners are subject to parole for life and may be returned to custody for a breach of their order at any time.
"The Queensland Parole Board is an independent statutory authority and accordingly QCS does not comment on the decisions, or process by which its decisions are made."
According to the Justice Department website, parole boards consider a number of factors before granting release.
These include the type of offending, any patterns of offending, the possibility of further crimes, adherence to any previous orders, successful completion of rehabilitation programs, behaviour during imprisonment, the prisoner's behavioural reports, and the sentencing Judge's recommendation.
Sources close to Henry say he has been a model prisoner during his incarceration.