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Murderer released on parole

A man who shot his father, stepmother and sister in McDuffie County in 1987 and drew a double-life sentence plus 20 years, has been released on parole by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, The McDuffie Mirror has learned.

Eric Poole, who was 17 and a student at Thomson High School at the time he committed the slayings, does not plan to move back to McDuffie County. Instead, he plans to live in East Point, Ga., which is in Fulton County, according to records filed in the McDuffie County Superior Court Clerk's Office.

Mr. Poole, who served 22 years behind bars for the crimes, was paroled March 11.

His parole certificate was issued on March 4. He actually was released seven days later from prison.

Special conditions of his parole are that he pays $30 a month to the Georgia Crime Victims Emergency Fund and that he be placed on electronic monitoring, immediately following his release -- a service of which he will be required to pay for. In addition, Mr. Poole will have to check in with his parole officer on a regular basis.

Aside from Superior Court Clerk Connie Cheatham being notified of his release, so were Toombs Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway, Jr. and District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders.

Mr. Poole was arrested and charged with the brutal slayings of his father, Tony Poole; his step-mother, Janice Poole; and his sister, Michelle Poole, at the Poole home on Sand Hill Road in South McDuffie County sometime between Feb. 5 and 6, 1987. Eric Poole shot all three victims to death with a Ruger .22-caliber rifle.

Mr. Poole fled in his father's 1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Before stealing the car, he took money and a weapon belonging to his father.

An intensified investigation by the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department along with assistance of special agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 Office in Thomson sprung up after the bodies were discovered. At the time, former Sheriff William Swan, along with Investigators Logan Marshall and the late Gene Wells worked the case, as did former GBI Special Agent David Rush. Mr. Marshall later was elected sheriff -- a position he still holds.

Mr. Poole later was arrested and charged with three counts of murder, theft by taking, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Mr. Poole, who was represented by Thomson attorney Jimmy Plunkett, later pleaded guilty to the crimes.

The later McDuffie County Superior Court Judge Robert L. Stevens sentenced Mr. Poole to consecutive life sentences for the killings of his father and step-mother and to psychiatric help, if necessary for the killing of his sister. He drew 20 years for the other crimes.

Web posted on Thursday, March 18, 2010

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