SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- One of two men convicted in the brutal double-murder of a Terrebonne couple nearly 33 years ago has lost his bid for immediate release from prison, as the state parole board on Monday said he must remain behind bars for nearly seven more years.
Late last year, the state Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision had cleared the way for the eventual release of Mark Wilson, now 51, by finding he's "likely to be rehabilitated."
Wilson was 18 in June of 1987 when he shot Rod Houser, 53, 20 times with a rifle on the front porch of the couple's home in the middle of the night. Co-defendant Randy Guzek shot Lois Houser, 49, with a revolver inside the home after finding her inside screaming at the top of a staircase.
Authorities said the pair then looted the house and tried to make it look like a cult killing, leaving a Bible on Houser's chest and cutting his neck before fleeing.
Wilson confessed and pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and felony murder. He was sentenced in 1988 to two consecutive life terms with the possibility of parole. Guzek was convicted in the killings and remains on Oregon's Death Row.
Several members of the victims' family argued Wilson should serve 40 years.
The parole board issued a decision Monday that set Wilson's release for Jan. 9, 2027, just shy of 40 years after the killings.
In its five-page "action form," the parole board said it did not find Wilson's efforts toward rehabilitation or to help identify other victims of his past burglaries to be restitution or reparations -- and even if they could, that his "recent false accusations against a victim's family member" weigh against such a finding.
According to The Oregonian/OregonLive, a lawyer for the family said Wilson falsely claimed Rod Houser's brother was, among other things, an associate of a parole board member.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel had drawn criticism from the victim's family for recommending Wilson get parole, though the DA claimed he was only upholding the deal made when Wilson pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Guzek.
Dylan Arthur, the parole board's executive director, told the newspaper Wilson can seek an administrative review of the board's decision, if he believes it violated its own rules. He can also seek a reduction of up to 20 percent of the time he's already served, equal to a little more than six years.
But Arthur said he would need the support of prison officials to seek a reduced sentence -- and even if he sought that, 'the board is highly unlikely to give a 20 percent reduction," based on recent cases.
Hummel provided to NewsChannel 21 this statement on the decision:
"I commend the parole board for the thoughtful and thorough attention they provided to this matter. As I argued in the brief I filed, Mr. Wilson’s request for immediate release should be rejected, and the board did so.
"Unfortunately for everyone involved, this is not the end of the matter. Mr. Wilson has a right for an administrative appeal, and if he is not satisfied with the result, he can appeal in the courts. And regardless of the outcomes of those appeals, he is entitled to a review hearing in five years, and then three years after that.
"The bottom line is that this ruling does not stop the hell that the Houser and Shirts families continue to endure. Hopefully, though, it brings them a bit of calm for the next few years," Hummel concluded.
Former Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, previously the Deschutes County prosecutor in the Randy Guzek case, as well as his several retrials, called the parole board's decision "utterly unexpected, great news," considering its finding last fall regarding Wilson's potential rehabilitation.
Marquis noted that Wilson had agreed to serve 40 years in prison "when he agreed to tell the truth about how he and Randy Guzek slaughtered the Houser family."