'He fell to his knees and I shot him again' - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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‘He fell to his knees and I shot him again’

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WRITE THE PAROLE BOARD: JONATHAN NORTON IS A DANGER TO SOCIETY

BY RALPH SAMUELS
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Oct. 5, 1989. It was a Thursday. It was the day that changed everything. And for parts of me, that day has been going on for 30 years.

Oct. 5, 1989 was the day that my father, my brother-in-law and I found my older brother’s murdered body stuffed into a closet in his south Anchorage home. Duane Samuels had been shot three times.

Autopsy reports advised us that there was “starring” on his skull surrounding the head shot, which means the last thing Duane ever felt was the barrel of a .357 magnum being put to his head.

Duane was a civil engineer who worked for the Corp of Engineers on Shemya Island in the Aleutians. He worked several weeks on, several weeks off.

Jonathan Norton was a disturbed sixteen-year-old Service High School student.  Prior to Oct. 4, he had robbed Duane’s home, as well as several other homes in the neighborhood.  But during his robberies, Norton had failed to find the keys to Duane’s car that was parked in the driveway.  So he returned.

What happened next was not a drug deal gone bad, or someone being on the wrong side of the tracks after midnight. Duane was in his own home near De Armoun Road on Oct. 4 at about 10 am when the doorbell rang.

The interview with Norton conducted by APD detectives painted a grim picture of what happened next.

APD:  Did you know he (Duane) was home?

Norton:  Yes, that’s why I brought the gun.

APD:  What did you do then (after shooting Duane)?

Norton:  He fell to his knees and I shot him again.

APD:  What happened then?

Norton:  He was crawling across the floor towards the closet, and I shot him in the head.

After killing Duane, Norton took Duane’s car, and threw the gun in the woods near Service High School. What he did next shows how truly callous and heartless a person he is.  Norton returned to Duane’s house several times.  The first time, he moved the body into the closet, grabbed a 7-Up from the fridge and left.  The next time he returned to show off my brother’s dead body to his friend David. The next time, Norton returned to the house to steal beer out of Duane’s refrigerator.

Duane Samuels was 29 years old.

Norton murdered Duane on Oct. 4.  We found my brother’s body on October 5, and APD arrested Norton on October 6, driving Duane’s car.

[READ: Ralph Samuels 1995 victim impact statement]

For the better part of the next decade, various lawyers and judges argued about whether or not Norton should be treated as an adult, whether the police erred in not calling his parents prior to the confession and other assorted technical issues (none of which challenged the fact that Norton murdered Duane Samuels). Norton, through his attorneys, attempted to keep my family from attending any of the hearings, claiming that our presence would do nothing to help, but would “inflame the passions of the court.” We won that particular battle and were allowed to attend all proceedings.

During these proceedings, we learned a good deal about Jonathon Norton. Prior to the murder, his parents placed him in a Charter North Behavior Health program due to mental health issues. In his video taped confession, Norton claimed to be very angry the day of the murder due to the fact that Save High School had wanted him to take psychological tests prior to admittance.

Norton stated that “I am sick of taking these tests, I have been doing it my whole life.”

Grand Jury testimony given by a high school acquaintance of Norton’s stated that in the week leading up to the murder, Norton had repeatedly stated that he was going to get the car, and going to kill the guy in order to do it.

After years of legal wrangling, the murder confession was allowed into court, Norton pled guilty and was sentenced to 99 years, the maximum allowed by law. He was given a chance to reduce this by 10 years if he finished a program to receive a GED while in prison (although, I still fail to see how securing a GED will help protect the public from a sociopathic murderer).

Alas, a life sentence is not really a life sentence, even for the most brutal of killers. Jonathan Norton will have his first parole hearing in February 2019. My sister, her husband, my parents and I will travel back in time to Oct. 5, 1989, and relive the gruesome, brutal details of that day all over again.

What violent crime does to families is nothing short of horrific. Parents of murdered children, rape victims and other victims of violence have to learn to live with what happened, but they never truly recover, nor do they forget.

The simplest question, “how many siblings do you have?” takes me back to that life-changing day in 1989. “Two . . . err . . . one . . . uh . . . I have a sister.”  Acquaintances who are simply asking polite questions don’t really want to hear the whole story, and I don’t really want to tell it over and over again.

For a long time after the murder, my father was unable to open the closet in his own home, as it reminded him of how he found his oldest son.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Jonathan Norton has served only the minimum time allowed under his sentence.  His parole hearing is in mid-February.  If you agree with me that the events of Oct. 4/5, 1989, deserve more than the minimum, you can let the Parole Board know your feelings at [email protected] with a copy to Kathy Hanson at the Office of Victims Rights at [email protected].

Your input can truly make a difference.  I believe it is simply not fair to the Samuels family to have the murderer serve only the minimum of his sentence, not to mention the danger to the public if he is released.  And more importantly, it certainly isn’t fair to Duane Samuels.

The story of wasted youth that the Parole Board should concern itself with is the story of the victim: a polite, respectful, hard-working 29-year-old whose life was sadistically and needlessly taken.

Donations Welcome

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Why feed and house this trash for his whole life after taking someone else’s life. And then to consider letting this mental case out to commit more crimes is obsurd. Death sentence is needed in Alaska. An eye for an eye !

    • Even if not for an eye for an eye, at least to save the state money.

  • Thank you for your story, Ralph. This is so tragic for your family to be hurting like this after 30 years. I hope everyone that reads Suzanne’s MRA writes to the parole board on your family’s behalf. I will.

  • This is so sad. This kid did this at the age of sixteen years old, what makes anybody for any reason that he has been rehabilitated, for this horrific crime that was set off due to the fact that he was having to do tests for he would change any of his thinking, no amount of time can change the fact that he murdered with no remorse.

    • It doesn’t matter how old he was. He is a sociopath. That cannot be cured. If you lack empathy for other life you will forever be a danger and should not be out on the streets. Letting him out would force the family to re-live this tragedy!

  • This is a painful tragedy to relive for the Samuels family. Both offices will be hearing from me. You have my support.

  • Letter sent……please be certain to keep us updated on this issue – it’s important to us all, and parole should not be granted on “feelings”……I support his being required to serve his entire sentence……the victim didn’t get options offered to him, after-the-fact.

  • If letters to a parole board are in order, it would help if relevant address was included.

    • The e-mail addresses WERE included at the bottom of the article.

    • There are email links provided.

  • While I have a great deal of sympathy for Mr. Samuels and his family, 99 years is not meant to be a life sentence in the State of Alaska, or else they would have placed a condition that he not be eligible for parole. Jonathan Norton has served 30 years. He was 16 at the time of the murder and as heinous as the crime was, under the law, he should be allowed a “meaningful opportunity for life” outside of prison as was decided by the Supreme Court, if he is able to show he is truly rehabilitated and ready to return to society. Sadly, Mr. Norton cannot undue what he did to the victim, nor the pain he has caused the family, but he has made great efforts to change and give back to the community that he hurt with his actions. Most juvenile offenders age out of their aggression, and are successful candidates for rehabilitation. Mr. Norton’s institutional file reflects that or else they would not be recommending him for parole to the board. I understand Mr. Samuels, and the members of his family are still angry and hurt by the senseless murder of their brother, but the parole board making decisions based on human emotions and outcry without also weighing in on proof of his rehabilitation would be wrong. I pray Mr. Samuels that you and your family might find healing some day, perhaps through mediation efforts with Mr. Norton through Restorative Justice. It has helped many individuals heal from such tragedies.

    • You should see the crime pictures with Duane Samuels head blown open. It doesn’t matter if he is eligible for parole. Your mercy is miss placed.

    • I agree.

    • Ms. Hall, unless and until you are in the position the Samuels family is in, your belief that a cold blooded murderer should have a “meaningful opportunity for life” should come into play about the time that Duane Samuels should also get that same opportunity don’t you think? That would be restorative justice.

    • Angela Hall – The crime was sociopathic and I would even venture to say psychopathic. Your explanation of 99 years not being a life sentence does not make sense as he was given a life sentence after conviction, with 99 years being the maximum years aloud for sentencing – which also sounds very convoluted. It was a life sentence, not 30 years. When an individual takes a life in such a horrific, intentional and gruesome manner they have made a decision to forfeit their right to be a part of society and enjoy a ‘meaningful life’ outside of prison.

  • This is a well-intentioned and respectful comment, above. Here’s the problem: Norton is only 46 years old. He is old enough to still have an enjoyable, fruitful life, but young enough to explode with pent up hostility from his 30 years in prison. Hard core criminality and recidivism is a younger man’s game. Statistics back this statement. Norton should not be considered for parole until he is at least 55 years old……minimum. Otherwise the risk is still too great that he will take societal reprisals on other victims…….who he doesn’t even know. Do you really want to risk that, Angela? I dont. And the Samuel family won’t. Norton should remain in prison. I already sent the parole board my strongly-worded letter.

    • Marla, while I understand your concerns, I have to respectfully disagree. There is a wonderful organization called The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. They advocate for juvenile offenders and seek fair sentencing for those with life sentences or defacto life sentences. I have personally met many of the members of ICAN which is a group made up of formally incarcerated youth now adults. They have been released from prison after serving decades behind bars and they are doing great things within their communities. Not one of them has “exploded with pent up hostility” from being imprisoned. Rather, they are thankful for the opportunity to do something positive with the remainder of their lives. So to answer your question, yes I would take a risk on Mr. Norton. Show me the statistics that say a man in his 40’s is likely to recidivate because everything I have seen says otherwise.

      • Angela, it does take some courage to stand up for a cold-blooded, calculated killer and advocate for his full rehabilitation and release. His sentence was 99 years. Straight out of the sentencing guidelines. I would like to see him serve at least 1/2 of that sentence, for the sake of the victim’s rights. As for Mr. Norton’s rehabilitation, I cannot say, as I have not met the man. I agree with you that SOME criminals can be fully rehabilitated. But what about the notion of retribution as a tool to warn all members of society that criminal acts come with a price, no matter the circumstances or the mental state of the perpetrator? Don’t we lose our own accountability to society by being advocates of early release? What message does that convey to grieving survivors like the Samuel family? The memory of their loved one is diminished knowing that his killer is out living his life freely. As much as I would like to side with your generous spirit of forgiveness, for me, the scale still tips toward justice for the victim, satisfaction for the grieving family, and safety for the public. Norman Mailer, the great author, advocated for, and helped win early release of a murderer. Within months, he murdered again. The bottom line is: would you be an advocate if Mr. Norton murdered YOUR son?

        • Marla , I understand exactly the way you feel. However I do know these incarcerated men and women who are imprisoned for such heinous crimes are children just like Mr. Jon Norton when they enter the prison system. There minds are not fully developed as adults and there are many statistics that prove this. I want you to know that I am the mother of a son and I am also a Christian. You asked would you be an advocate for the the person who committed this crime against your son. I can speak from the spirit of Chris that lives within me that YES I would advocate for the person who committed this crime.. I believe that this is why these individuals are incarcerated so they are rehabilitated, so they have a chance to become a member of society again.Because I firmly believe in second chances. God our Father has translated all of us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.We are all partakers of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe through mediation guided by the spirit of truth can humble oneself and grow in wisdom not letting the crime define who I am but bring Glory to God in everything I say and do .There is no amount of time that will satisfy the pain of the victims. If society does believe in second chances if a convicted criminal becomes a role model wouldn’t you think they should be given a chance to enter into society? If society responds correctly wouldn’t you think we would have more role models ?

        • Marla, if my loved one had been victim in such a manner I would be hurt, I would be angry and I would want Justice, but Justice is not Retribution. If we lived in a society based on Retribution, imagine what that might be like? Do you think murdering the murderer is going to lessen the pain of the Samuels family? I highly doubt it. It might satisfy some form of bloodlust for some, but it will not ease their suffering for long. If the individual that perpetrated that act against my loved one showed sincere remorse and regret for their actions, took every opportunity to better themselves, I would like to believe I could find it in my heart to forgive them in time. I don’t believe the act of forgiving someone in any way diminishes the loss of the loved one. It certainly isn’t saying what they did to that person, or that family is okay. It is called the Department of Corrections because there is a reasonable expectation that people can change. I find it interesting that people always remember the case of an individual that re-offends, but they fail to mention the countless number of individuals that go on to do great things for their communities. If you do not believe me, I would be happy to share some of those individual’s stories with you, but I doubt you would be interested because it might actually alter your perspective.

          • Rehabilitation is not the sole, nor necessarily primary, purpose of incarceration.

            Retribution for the crime committed, is a foundational part of Justice.

            Its sure and certain proportional imposition creates the Deterrent effect.

            Incapacitation ensures that the offender is not free to reoffend during the period of incarceration.

            Rehabilitation is _a_ purpose, but there is nothing in rehabilitation that requires freedom. A convicted murderer may indeed turn their life around, may find God in prison, but that does not mean that the consequences of their prior action should be wiped away. They received their punishment for their action, not their moral status.

          • Nortons punishment won’t be in the realm of retribution until he recieves the same treatment he perpetrated upon his victim. any punishment less than that is still shy of justice and definitely not in the catagory of retribution.

            For those who want to bring their faith into it, I believe there is a passage about ‘living and dying by the sword’ they may want to refresh themselves on prior to making an appeal to the divine.

  • A THANKS TO RALPH SAMUELS. I do not want to mention this to distract from this important issue, but to emphasize the sincerity and concern for others by Ralph Samuels. For the rest of his life, I am sure there isn’t a day that goes by he doesn’t think of his brother, but Ralph Samuels is also caring about how his family’s tragedy has impacted others. I want to share my story and how not a day goes by that I don’t thank Ralph Samuels, and here is why.
    .
    In April 1999 Gary Stone, age 46 of Cordova, and a father of 5, was killed on the job working for Whitewater Engineering. I will spare you the details of the incident and do a major fast forward, but an avalanche ensued at a construction site, massive safety dangers and violations were discovered and the company ultimately pleaded no contest in 2001 to criminally negligent homicide in the death of Mr. Stone. This at least provided a small bit of comfort to the Stone family.
    .
    Five weeks later on May 5, 1999, on Wrangell Island in SE Alaska, my brother Kyle Angerman, age 38, father of a daughter, was electrocuted and killed on the job while working for Whitewater Engineering. Again, fast forward and there were massive company safety violations. Criminally negligent homicide was not proven in this case but the company was at fault.
    .
    How can I delicately segue to Governor Frank Murkowski? I can’t. At the end of Franks administration, he pardoned Whitewater Engineering for the criminally negligent homicide charge. Yep! He did. Interestingly enough, he only heard from two people regarding it, both in favor of the pardon: One was in charge of the AK Marine Highway and former legislator (Robin Taylor ringing any bells?) and the other was Bruce Weyhrauch, in the House at the time and also the attorney representing Whitewater. (there is a whole other back story to this).
    .

    So eight years after the death of her father, one of Gary Stone’s daughters gets a phone call from a reporter to learn that the company that killed (murdered) her father, is off the hook. I too was blindsided by the news. Although the verdict was different in my brother’s death, I hurt just the same not only for myself and my family but for the Stone family. The Stone family had NO NOTICE AT ALL about this pardon consideration. They had ZERO input. This was a backroom cooked up deal.
    .
    In comes Rep. Ralph Samuels, the incoming House majority leader at the time. He sponsored HB69. Simply put the bill did not take away from a governor’s constitutional right to grant clemency, but required that a victim or victim’s family be notified BEFORE the governor issues a pardon to the perpetrator of a crime. A quote from Ralph at the time said “if the executive cannot pass the red-faced test by being able to make that phone call and tell a woman who has been raped or the family of a person who has been murdered, if they cannot make that phone call, then the pardon should not be issued”.

    .
    This was a heavily bipartisan supported bill and the first one of that session. It was also the first legislation signed by Governor Palin. This law has been changed.

    .
    So, for the first time publicly, THANK YOU, Ralph Samuels, for your continued efforts and being a steadfast advocate for victims rights. God bless you and your family.

  • Please watch the following clip from the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. People can and do change. This organization is full of of youthful offenders and families of the victims working together to show that people can change. Please take a few minutes to watch and see another perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE0h64TE-jw&fbclid=IwAR3iW_AFbBYrBDzh5oJLDJPWXsunhWTX2p0a2O0SVZardbFEG7ZbfnZazGQ

  • I am not negating the fact that a young man’s life was taken and it was a senseless act. I also have a great deal of heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the Samuel’s. I though am a supporter of Jonathan Norton and would respectfully like to explain my position. I met Jon Norton in 2005 when he was an adult and no longer a teenager. He was respectful, always willing to give a helping hand and trusted by the facility he was housed. To this day he is entrusted with responsibilities and I feel he has been rehabilitated and would be a citizen who would not be a danger to society. Jon is a changed man. I know for a fact that young men and women who commit crimes at a young age do get out and change their lives for the better. I cannot express myself as eloquently as others but this is my humble opinion.

    • TRINI, can you please expound on how you met Mr. Norton in 2005? How do you know he was always willing to give a helping hand? How do you know he was trusted? Were you personally in close contact with him, i.e, perhaps incarcerated near him? Did you work in a facility where he was incarcerated? Were you a regular visitor? Clergy? I am just trying to get an idea of how you would know the ‘condition’ of Mr. Norton 14 years ago.

  • Nope, no parole. He would be dead if I had my way. As a man and a protector of my family, no way.

  • My deepest condolences to Ralph and family. I know the pain is great and the thought of the murderer going free is crushing. I had not heard the details of this horrible crime before today. I am sending an email in support of the Samuels family. My husband is retired law enforcement and his father was murdered in 1983. There are just some people who should never go free for the safety of society.

  • The Bible tells us the the Apostle Paul was the vengeful murderer of many Christians when he was Saul the Pharisee. Yet by God’s power and grace, God transformed by love and he did many great things for God all the rest of his life. We are all sinners and no one has the right to condemn another. I do not deny the heinous crime nor the pain of the family. Yet we are all capable of the same thing but for God’s spirit at work in us by His precious merciful kindness to each and all. Please lay your resentment and vengeance at the foot of the Cross and plead with God to fill your hearts with His love – that you may be free from the bondage of hate that now enslaves you. God loves each of us beyond our wildest dreams and that kind of love changes hearts. I pray that God will transform your hurting heart that you will come to know the truth and the truth will surely set you free. It may seem to you that Jonathan Gordon – and many others are in prison, but the truth is that the real prison is the one we create and put ourselves in when we allow our hurt and pain to become hate and vengeance. I realize that when a person is blinded by the stronghold of hate, he will be blind to God’s truth that I have spoken. Yet I fervently pray for you to be set free from your hatred.

    • Nancy, thank you for your prayers and you godly words of love and hope. However, I don’t think you can judge whether anyone in this forum has hate in their hearts. I for one don’t. Maybe the Samuel’s family doesn’t. I don’t know. What I do know, is I’d like to see appropriate justice served for this crime. We are bound by the confines of the laws of the State of Alaska. The perpetrator of this crime is now up for parole after only serving the minimum amount of time of his sentence and the board is faced with determining if this is “just”. I personally don’t think it is. To date, he has only served one year longer than the life of the person he murdered.

      • Thank you, Garnet, for your response.

        God does say Vengeance is mine. Also He tells us that if we do not forgive others – no exceptions – He will not forgive us. I realize that the concept of forgiveness is anathema to the world we live in. However, God’s truth is forever and when He lovingly warns us to forgive – seventy times seven if needed – He is saying it to protect us from ourselves. It truly is possible for God to transform hearts. It happens all the time and it can happen to each of us. That is God’s desire for us all. Jonathon Gordon committed this heinous horrible crime at 16. He has been in prison for 30 years. Think about that. All his formative years have been behind bars. The amazing thing is that God’s love and grace have reached him and he is clearly a different person than the one that perpetrated that crime. At least he deserves the chance to show the parole board this is so and be judged on that alone – NOT retried for his original crime as if it just happened and he is still 16 years old. We are all sinners. Even our best is but “filthy rags” before our just and holy perfect Creator. Yet, he has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him by His gracious gift of salvation in Jesus Christ if we but repent and confess our pitiful state and need for redemption. Because of HIS forgiveness to us, we are OBLIGATED to forgive each other. Even Christ forgave those who crucified Him – and THAT was certainly not just punishment. The amazing thing is that when we seek God’s power to forgive others and heal us from the bitterness we suffer, we will know His peace that passes all understanding and truly feel His love and joy in a way that is not of this world. It is beyond what we can imagine in a beautiful way. I sincerely would like to see the Samuel Family go through a reconciliation process with Jonathan Gordon. It would give then a voice and allow Jonathan to express himself to them. Keep in mind that forgiveness does NOT say the crime is ok or in any way detract from the years of pain and suffering it has created for this family and many others. It only says that God is a JUST God and we trust Him to bless us and heal us when we do as he commands – to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Every thing God requires of us is out of an extravagant and adoring love from a Father to his children. What is also amazing is that HE gives us the power – by His Holy Spirit – to do what is best for us when we seek Him with a humble heart that truly wants to know Him and His ways. How great indeed is the love the Father has lavished on us. 1 John 3:1. I sincerely pray this for everyone involved in this discussion but especially for the Samuel Family.

  • My family experiences his very thing periodically since my uncle was murdered by three back in 1986. Of the three that killed him, two have been released. We still have to relive these moments I wish we never had to experience. Ever. I dont wish this on my worst enemy. It just rips open deep deep wound… we never asked for this. I’ll write a letter… This poor family.

  • I am Ralph, Paula and Duane’s cousin. I have seen what Duane’s murder has done to my Aunt and Uncle. My aunt made a comment that she is afraid for herself and her family if he should be paroled.
    At 87 years old, they should not be afraid!!

    • No, the elderly parents of the victim should not have to be afraid. I hope they are allowed to walk in and testify directly to the Parole Board during the hearing. Further, I hope they deliver their message in front of Mr. Norton, so he can see up close what grieving parents go through when their child’s life is violently stolen. My heart weighs heavy for the parents who never got to watch their son get past 29.

  • Mr. Norton may now be a model prisoner seeking to pursue a meaningful life but what a shame that Duane Samuels cannot have that opportunity. A murder is one thing but to shoot a victim THREE TIMES at close range is brutal and senseless.

  • I have been involved in law enforcement for decades. I know Ralph and his family who are fantastic members of our Alaskan society.

    So, for those of you who think Mr Norton has served enough time, think again.

    This crime was not only brutal in shooting the victim three times, it was premeditated with Mr. Norton’s planning the fatal attack AFTER he burglarized homes in the neighborhood, including the victin’s.

    Do you remember the recent senseless homicide at the Alaska Zoo of the night guard by another individual who was ‘off his meds’?

    A few convicted felons are worthy of a second chance. Such as doing something stupid in the heat of the moment. That being said – NO! Mr. Norton planned this brutal crime. He has proven he will not be a good member of society. More of a danger to society

    Add his mental state + our recent electronic monitoring services who routinely ‘lose’ subjects = a disaster waiting to happen.

    If you strongly feel that he deserves to be released back into society, then perhaps you are willing to have him live at your home and you monitor his actions 24/7.

    • Susie, you said it all. Thank you for serving as LE. Wish you were there to greet Mr. Norton when he broke into Duane’s home.

    • I remember that day, I remember seeing the pain on my friends facese as we read what happened. There is no way that the young man should be released. Why do the criminals get more rights and a life while the victim is dead? Why does he deserve the right to be free, Duane isn’t free, he isn’t sending flowers to his mother or enjoying a movie with his brother. I’m sorry, but I believe that he should spend the rest of his life in jail. Duane isn’t at the movies, he doesn’t get play basketball with his brother, he doesn’t get to have children and grandchildren. More people should think hard before killing someone, but they don’t anymore because they have more rights and victims are nothing. I hope that he at least spends the rest of his life locked up. Duane is still locked up. Please don’t let Norton out. And thank you Susie Linford you said something’s that I feel also.

    • I’m sorry Susie but I have to disagree with a portion of your statement. While I agree this was a brutal crime and yes it was senseless, it does not mean he has proven that he will forever be a danger to society. You cannot total the sum of a person’s life by one grave act. If that were the case no one would ever be released from prison based on public condemnation. He committed this act 30 years ago at the age of 16. He has experienced a great deal of growth and maturity in that time, undertaking many programs designed to teach him how to function within the parameters of the law and society. How do you know what his mental state is today? Do you work with Mr. Norton? The Parole Officers and Staff at his previous Correctional facilities do, and they believe he is a good candidate for parole, hence a recommendation that he be reviewed favorably. I for one value their opinion as they are trained and educated in these matters. As for electronic monitoring, there are many individuals using this program successfully, you just don’t hear very much about the success stories in the media. Mr. Norton does have family willing to house him, but I think it is more likely he would be recommended to a halfway house, or transitional living first as this often helps with the re-entry process. He may not be granted parole this time, perhaps they might ask that he undertake more programming, or serve more time, but eventually he will be granted parole because it is not the function of the parole board to operate on “an eye for an eye” policy.

  • I’d like to know how Norton’s parents address these issues. Where are they now, and what was Norton’s home life like when he was a teenager? What makes a 16-
    year old kid decide to plan out a murder and then execute it? Did his parents fail him? Was he deranged and angry as a young teen? Drug abuser? Please tell us more about Mr. Norton and just dont say he was an otherwise normal kid.

  • I am the same age as Duane would have been today. I clearly remember the Court case and the sickening details. Some people are just “hard-wired” to be evil assholes, Jonathon Norton is one of them. I have already written to Ms. Bailie with my opinion as a member of this community.
    I have 3 boys living here in Anchorage now, It scares the bejesus out of me to thing that this guy could be walking among them and is willing to commit premeditated murder to get possession of a Car that he thinks he deserves. He is Exactly where he belongs, behind bars.

  • Duane’s family has my support. I’m writing that letter. For Jon to at least serve half the 99 years! Anything less I feel is a real slap in the face or another bullet to that family’s memories! He should not be released early. He can pretend all he waNts to be a upstanding member in jail. But his crime was unforgettable and he should do the time!!

  • MKPT/January 16, 2019

    There is mention in the above comments on how people can change. Surely that applies to an individual with a brain that understands right from wrong in the most basic sense. For whatever reason, this individual’s brain lacks the ability to make decisions that aren’t a danger to society and to someone else’s loved one. His brain’s wiring is possibly helped by medication which he may or may not take, if he were to be on his own. Allow him to learn and be as productive as possible in his current controlled environment, where he can’t destroy other lives.

  • Just sent an email requesting this monster be locked up for the rest of his natural life.

  • I think that if he is released he should live with the liberal letter writers who be leave he is changed. Lets see how they feel with him living with them.

    • There is nothing liberal or conservative in this conversation. It is all about how you view life. The truth – whether one believe it or not -is still the truth. We have a God who can transform our sinful lives into Christ honoring that is a blessing to all. The culture has surely gone the way of hatred and vengeance and forgotten that we are all sinners. That is why there is so much pain and horrible evil around us. It can only be overcome by love. Romans 12 says it well. More hate and anger and vengeance only leads to despair, more pain and more evil instead of hope and healing and restoration that God wants for us all.

  • When you know this person then maybe you can speak on Mr. Norton’s behalf . Everyone deserves a second chance . He is not the same person he was when he was 16 . I wouldn’t have a problem with him living next door to me . We all learn from the mistakes in our lives . I’m sure everyone has something in their past therenit proud of . Regardless of what that might be .

  • Ralph, I’m so sorry you have to go through this all over again. I was your brothers roommate at UAF for a short time and will always remember him as a kind and gentle young man. I never knew the details of his death and I cannot imagine finding Duane like you and your dad did. So, so sorry. Anyone who could do what this man did should be put down like a rabid dog or never allowed to walk the streets as a free man again.

  • I am praying fervently for the families that have suffered horribly in the loss of one so dear. Yet, such evil in the world will only continue if we do not overcome it with a radical love that comes from God. God’s way is NOT our way but it IS the only way to peace and joy and hope and healing. Vengeance and hatred in our hearts destroys our own selves and does not accomplish any thing good. Romans 12:17 tells us to repay no one evil for evil. The last verse in that chapter also tells us to overcome evil with good. When God tells us something, it is only because He so extravagantly loves us and wants us to have peace and joy that is in Him. If we choose to hate and seek revenge and condemnation for another, we are only helping evil to happen again. We all have the capacity to do such evil things and but for the grace of God, we have not done such a heinous crime. Yet who are we to condemn the one that did it without learning if this person has changed and transformed by the Holy Spirit. If his mental and emotional state had not changed, I would agree he needs more time and hope he gets help to see the world differently. However to state that he is still a danger to society is wrong. We all make mistakes and we all have hurt others. People DO change and after 30 years, is not this possible? Do we not want more genuine love to grow in our world? I prayerfully plead with you not to feed the hatred that destroys self and makes things worse. Let’s change this conversation to show that we believe God is in control and we trust completely that God can make good come of ALL things to those that love the Lord and are called according to His purposes. Romans 8:28. Even if you do not trust God, it is so very evident by our news reports today that evil is alive and well in this world. Do you want to add more to that?

  • I keep reading about how this murderer is a “changed” person, and how well he’s done in prison, yadda yadda yadda. Not one person making these claims has actually backed them up with proof. How do you know these things? This was apparently a fully premeditated murder, planned in advance by a mentally deranged teen. Was he on -or supposed to be on- meds at the time? Is he still on meds? I’ve read no proof anywhere of this man’s “changed” life, only opinions backed up by nothing tangible. If that’s all there is, he should not be paroled. If it’s all provable fact, then perhaps he should have a shot at it again in another 10 years. Perhaps. But not yet, not now.

  • After reading the article, if he get’s released his life expectancy will be short

  • Suzanne’s article above was the most commented on since I’ve been reading MRA. Thought provoking and with very little politics of the moment. Really great comments on both sides of the ledger. Most of the comments coming from women……..which is a testament to Suzanne’s ability to invoke critical thought, and to the women who care.

  • Without hesitation I will be sending in my letter to support Norton serving his full life sentence. Duane Samuels died a violent death by this man’s terrible and disturbing actions. I pray he stays forever incarcerated without a chance of ever repeating such a heinous act.

  • I am most moved by the thought that Duane has never even had a chance to live the rest of his life, so why should Norton? Bring on the death penalty, and spare us the cost of even supporting such a person for the rest of his life.

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