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Convicted killer released from prison due to illness

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Doctors say 75-year-old convicted murderer Ethel Dedmon has just six months left to live. A Fresno Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday to release the dying woman to her sister in the North Valley. But some of the victim's family members are outraged.

The judge says since Ethel Dedmon has terminal cancer and needs around the clock medical care she's no longer a threat to society or her family.

But her brother-in-law says he's disgusted by the decision to free the woman who killed his brother and best friend. "It's the courts view that the petitioner, Ms. Dedmon, is entitled to compassionate release," said Judge Wayne Ellison. That decision is infuriating to Glen Dedmon whose brother, Jack, was killed in 1999 by his own wife, Ethel Dedmon.

"Why would you have the right to take a man's life, he's gone for eternity, she goes away for 13 years and she gets the round trip ticket," Glen Dedmon said. "It's not right, it's not right."

In October 1999 Fresno County Sheriff's deputies took Ethel Dedmon into custody. She was soon convicted of fatally shooting her husband, Jack, twice in the back of the head while he sat at his computer.

"You can never put into words something like this happening," Carl Gardner, Ethel's nephew said. "You never want anything like this to happen in your family. It just tears the family completely apart."

Gardner pushed for her release. As was heard in the original court case, he says there was a lot of abuse he witnessed between Ethel and Jack while he lived with them. He thinks she deserves to live her last days with loved ones, instead of in prison.

"She's gonna die soon anyway," he said. "Keeping her in prison isn't gonna do anybody and good anyway. So let her come home and be with her family."

In court Wednesday, prosecutors argued the 75-year-old is still a dangerous woman. They say she's an alcoholic who deserves no compassion.

But her defense attorney told the judge she's too frail to harm anyone, especially since she spends most of her time in bed and on pain medication.

"She gets out and she's got somebody to comfort her while she's dying," Glen Dedmon said. "I wasn't able to comfort my brother."

Ethel Dedmon tried to be released on parole last year and was denied. After the decision she could be released by the weekend.

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