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Many express outrage at murder's parole

Outrage is one word used to describe how family members and others feel about the recent release from prison of Eric Poole -- a convicted murderer.

The 38-year-old Mr. Poole was paroled on March 13 from prison after serving 22 years of a double-life-plus-20-year sentence for the fatal shootings of his father, stepmother and his 6-year-old stepsister at the family's home in McDuffie County between Feb. 5 and Feb. 6, 1987.

Mr. Poole, who is living in East Point, was paroled by members of the Georgia State Pardons and Paroles Board.

Family members of some of the slaying victims, who included Tony Poole, his wife, Janice, and their daughter, Michelle, can't understand why they weren't notified of his release. Tony Poole worked as a heavy equipment operator for the McDuffie County Roads and Bridges Department. His wife, Janice, worked nightshift at an industry near Thomson, while their daughter, Michelle was a first grader at J.A. Maxwell Elementary School in Thomson.

Each of the victims was shot multiple times with a .22-caliber rifle -- a Christmas gift that Eric Poole received from his father after becoming a teenager.

Instead, they learned such information after a front page story appeared in the March 18, 2010 edition of The McDuffie Mirror .

"We shouldn't have had to learn that Eric was a free man from the newspaper," said Patricia Green, a surviving niece of Janice Poole. "Our family should have been contacted by officials with the State Pardons and Paroles Board. Because we weren't, some of us are pretty outraged about it."

Ms. Green, a legal assistant for a lawyer in Thomson, said she'd like to know why her family wasn't contacted by state officials.

"I'd really like to know and so would a lot of other family members," added Ms. Green. "It wasn't right the way it was done. I just don't understand why we weren't contacted. Everybody we've talked to said they learned about it from reading the newspaper."

Ms. Green said she doesn't want to see another family have to go through what her family has in learning of the freedom of a convicted felon from a newspaper story, as opposed from getting such information from state officials.

"Sheriff (Logan) Marshall said he learned about Mr. Poole's release the day he was paroled from prison," said Ms. Green, noting that she called him on the telephone. "He said he normally receives word about two days before an inmate is paroled."

Ms. Green pointed out that everybody she's talked with in her family is upset about not being notified of Mr. Poole's release on parole.

She said she always believed that Eric Poole would be in prison the rest of his life.

"We are furious because he was released after serving only 22 years," said Ms. Green.

She's not alone.

Her mother, Patricia Fullwood, feels the same way.

"I liked to have wrecked my car coming from Augusta when I heard about Eric being released," said Mrs. Fullwood. "I couldn't believe it."

Mrs. Fullwood, who lives in Mitchell, said her family has suffered so much over the loss of her sister, her husband and daughter and one of her brothers who died in a drowning mishap.

"We used to be very close as a family," recalled Mrs. Fullwood.

The family used to hold big cookouts and have lots of fun remembering fond years together.

Today, it's much different.

"We rarely get together," lamented Mrs. Fullwood. "What Eric did to our family stays with all of us and it always will."

Mrs. Fullwood's mother, Elaine Young, the mother of 13 children and who lives in Harlem, said what still bothers her till this day is the fact that no one knows why Eric Poole murdered his family.

"We still don't know why he did it," said Mrs. Young. "We'd really like to know why."

Eric Poole's release from prison on parole "has disrupted my family again," said Mrs. Young. "It's brought back up a lot of bad memories."

Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders said authorities never uncovered a motive for the slayings.

"It looks like we'll never really know what the motive was unless Eric tells us why someday," said Mr. Sanders.

Fred Windom, a former sergeant with the Wrens Police Department and in 1987 a brother-in-law of Mrs. Poole, said, "I'm angry that none of us was notified about his release."

Mr. Windom assisted authorities after the bodies of the three victims were discovered

Now divorced, he has maintained a close relationship with his former mother-in-law, Mrs. Young.

Web posted on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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