(Update: Adding family, Hummel comments)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The family of the Terrebonne couple who was brutally murdered 32 years ago is devastated that one of the two men convicted could be released from prison. But the current district attorney, who favors that move, is defending his recommendation of parole.
Oregon's parole board this week concluded Mark Wilson, now 50, "is likely to be rehabilitated" and may be eligible for early parole.
An April 16 hearing is set to decide a tentative parole release date for Wilson. Before the parole board makes a final decision, Wilson must complete an exit interview and undergo a series of psychological tests.
Wilson was 18 when he murdered Rod Houser by shooting him with a riffle 20 times at the couple's home. Housers wife, Lois, was killed by co- defendant Randy Guzek, who shot her in the head, stomach and heart inside of the home.
The nephew of the Housers, Dan Hally, told NewsChannel 21 on Friday that the family feels devastated and betrayed by the state government and Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, who recommended Wilson get parole.
"There's no argument that he (Wilson) hasn't done well in prison, that's quite common," Hally said. "We frequently see people do well in prison. He's certainly taken the steps to improve himself -- but what he could not do, and did not do, is exhibit an understanding of the harm he's caused. He could not articulate what he did and why he did it, when he shot Rod 20 times."
Hally said Wilson should be required to serve out the complete 40-year sentence before being considered for parole.
Hummel and the board both said they recognize the educational efforts, prison work programs and work record of Wilson in his effort to maintain merit while being incarcerated.
Hummel also told us Friday that by recommending Wilson for parole, he's upholding the deal made when Wilson was sentenced years ago, when he pleadedguilty and testified against Randy Guzek.
"The statute is clear," Hummel said. "This is the standard. Iif you meet the standard you are eligible for parole."
"Mr. Wilson has done everything that was asked of him; he's exceeded the Oregon statutory requirement. If the parole board were to have said, 'Mr. Wilson, you're not getting parole,' in essence, the parole board would've ripped up the statutory law and said, 'In our world, we're now legislators, and in advance we determined that no one will be paroled in the history of Oregon.' Well, the parole board doesn't make the law --Oregonians make the law."
Hummel said he understands the position of the Houser family and said their feelings hold merit as to why they do not want Wilson released. He also said that overall, this has been a hard decision to make.