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'82 Convicted murderer of shop owner being considered for release

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Bars and Handcuffs
Bars and Handcuffs

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A state panel will consider releasing a 63-year-old woman from prison tomorrow, after she killed a small-town shop owner in Richland County in 1982.

The Earned Release Review Commission will consider Bonnie Smith’s case for a second time.

She and 49-year-old James Willison of Baraboo were convicted of robbing and killing 76-year-old Leona Milfred at a store where she used to sell candy to nearby school-kids. She was sentenced to life in prison, and Milfred’s son Terry says murderers are serving life for lot less than what he called the “heinousness and viciousness of this crime.”

Milfred was stabbed over 50 times to her neck, back, head, and forearms. Authorities believe she tried to defend herself, because she also had slashing wounds to her hands.

Soon after she was arrested, Smith claimed a demon caused her to kill Milfred.

Smith, who’s at the state prison in Waupun, was denied parole last fall.

Willison is at the state’s prison in Oregon – and he’s due for his first parole review early next year.

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