News 5 Investigates: Who Lets Violent Criminals Back on the Streets?

GEORGE COUNTY, Mississippi (WKRG) – Dawn Franklin will never forget the day in 2012 she nearly died at the hands of her then-boyfriend, David Adele.

“I was begging him to stop,” Franklin. “He said ‘when it’s your day to die it’s just your day to die.’”

In the back bedroom of their Lucedale home, a drunken Adele beat her for more than an hour. The assault stemmed from an argument over $20.A child Franklin was babysitting at the time witnessed the whole thing. At one point Adele stopped to wash his hands covered in Franklin’s blood. In the brief moment he was out of the room, she grabbed her phone and sent her neighbor a text message asking him to call 911. Franklin’s neighbors came over and rescued her. George County deputies took Adele into custody for aggravated domestic assault. It wasn’t until Adele was behind bars that Franklin learned about his past.

Adele is a convicted murderer. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing a woman in Illinois. He strangled and beat her with his bare hands. He was released on parole after serving 15 years.

“It just amazed me that they thought someone’s life was only worth 15 years like he had done his time, he had paid his debt to society,” said Franklin.

George County District Attorney Tony Lawrence was outraged when he learned about Adele’s past.

“I was shocked,” said Lawrence. “I couldn’t believe it.  I think the first thing that went through our minds was how does this happen?”

A George County jury convicted Adele of aggravated domestic assault. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“In Dawn’s case it wasn’t a murder thank God, not for a lack of trying,” said Lawrence. “But what she went through we felt deserved a harsh and a strong punishment and that’s why he got a life sentence.”

This case, however, raises the question of how Adele was released from prison in the first place considering he was so dangerous.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board released Adele citing “good behavior.” 12 people sit on the board.

This is where News 5 began our investigation. Would Adele have been released in Gulf Coast states?

In Mississippi, Adele would not have been eligible for parole. The Mississippi Parole Board does not rule on cases involving convicted murderers. Once the inmate turns 65, he or she can petition a judge where the conviction occurred for release. Adele is 53 which would make him ineligible for release in Mississippi. The Parole Board rules on all other cases in the state. The board is made up of five members. Corrections or law enforcement experience is not a requirement. Mississippi Parole Board members are appointed by the Governor and make $70,000 per year.

In Alabama, Adele could have been eligible for parole. The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles makes decisions on pardons and paroles for every criminal in the state. Murderers are eligible for parole after serving 85 percent of their sentence or 15 years, whichever is less. Three people sit on the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. Two are attorneys and one is from the business sector. They are appointed by the Governor and their salary is $100,000.

In Florida, Adele could have been eligible for parole. For convicted murderers, the Florida Commission on Offender Review rules on cases that happened prior to May 25, 1994. Since Adele was convicted of murder in 1992, he would have been eligible.  However, Florida is phasing out parole altogether. The Commission only hears certain cases that happened prior to 1995. No other inmates are eligible for release. Three people sit on the Florida Commission on Offender Review.  They are appointed by the Governor and make approximately $92,500.

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