The convicted killer of a gay Houston man – the last of 10 men still in jail for the 1991 brutal homicide – was released on parole on Wednesday.
Jon Buice walked out of the Walls Unit in Huntsville on Wednesday morning after serving 23 years of a 45-year sentence. The killer, now 41, didn't speak to reporters assembled outside the prison, only offering, “Let's go. Let's go,” to his dad before being driven away, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Buice was among a group of 10 young men who traveled from the Woodlands to Montrose on July 4, 1991 and targeted a group of three gay men. After attacking them, two fled and one – 27-year-old banker Paul Broussard – was trapped on a side street. He was beaten and Buice – then 17 and high on marijuana and LSD – stabbed and killed him. Five of Broussard's attackers received probation, while Buice received the stiffest sentence.
Buice's father, Jim, greeted his son as he was freed on Wednesday, according to KHOU.
“They promote him as being a very hateful killer,” said his father, Jim Buice. “Wasn't anything like that at all.”
“I ask people to view their own hearts,” said the killer's father. “What if it was one of their own family? Would they feel the same? I don't have any hatred for people that hate my son. I actually feel sorry for them.”
Buice's parole has been hotly contested. Via the Houston Chronicle:
The release of Buice on parole – he agreed to serve 45 years in a plea bargain – has been hotly contested through a series of hearings before members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Buice's November approval for parole was the second time he was cleared for supervised release. A 2011 decision to free the inmate was reversed after protests from Broussard's mother, Nancy Rodriquez, who lives in Georgia.
When Buice was granted parole in November, city crime victim advocate Andy Kahan told Project Q Houston that the move sent a chilling message to crime victims and their families.
“The parole of a convicted killer that has only served 51 percent of his sentence has a chilling effect on all homicide survivors – the people I deal with that wonder about the person who murdered one of their family members,” Kahan said.
On Wednesday, Kahan again blasted the decision to parole Buice. Via the Houston Chronicle:
City crime victims advocate Andy Kahan, who has orchestrated efforts to keep Buice in prison, said Wednesday “the decision to release a cold-blooded murderer …is sending chills down everyone's spine wondering if their case will be the next one to be paroled.”
Buice faces a handful of strict conditions now that he's out of prison, according to the Chronicle.
Pardons spokesman Raymond Estrada said Buice will receive “super-intensive supervision.”
He will be required to wear a GPS monitoring device, find employment, stay in Texas and out of Harris County. He also must avoid contact with his co-defendants and the people who were with Broussard when he was attacked.
The frequency with which he will need to report to his supervising officer will be determined in the next few weeks, Estrada said.
[Buice image via KHOU]