Friday, September 22, 2023
HomeAnchorage Daily PlanetShould a murderer go free? Help the parole board decide

Should a murderer go free? Help the parole board decide

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest column penned by the granddaughter and great niece of three murder victims in one of Anchorage’s most notorious violent crimes, which occurred in 1985. At the end, the author has a call to action for readers to send letters to the Alaska Parole Board asking that they keep the killer locked up.)


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It was a lifetime ago, when a vicious crime happened that changed my life forever. In 1985, my grandparents, Ann and Tom Faccio, age 70 and 69, and my great aunt, Emilia Elliott, age 76, had their lives cut short, executed by Cordell Boyd and an underage accomplice, Winona Fletcher.

In April, the Alaska Parole Board will decide whether Boyd, who has served just one-third of his sentence, will be freed. Discretionary parole, it’s called.

The two murderers had long criminal histories in Anchorage; and had no association with my family, until they terrorized and shot three members of my family while attempting to rob them.

My grandparents and great aunt were like many of us in Anchorage: They were responsible citizens, small business owners, parents, grandparents, making ends meet, and paying taxes.

This fateful day started out like so many others. Tom and Ann Faccio and Emilia Elliot were at their home in east Anchorage, enjoying dinner and watching the news, when they answered the doorbell.

Someone was having car trouble and needed to borrow their phone. Who wouldn’t help someone in need?  Life for all of us was forever changed because my beloved family opened that door and offered to help.


Below are the facts of the case as outlined in one of the many legal briefs written after the murders:

       On April 22, 1985, W.M.F., age fourteen, and Cordell Boyd, age nineteen, forced their way at gunpoint into the house of Tom and Ann Faccio and Emilia Elliott. W.M.F. initially struggled with Mr. Faccio, age sixty-nine, during which her .22 caliber handgun discharged. Ms. Faccio, age seventy, entered the kitchen, where the disturbance was taking place. Boyd demanded money from Mr. Faccio and was given approximately $300 at that time. Boyd directed W.M.F. to find Ms. Elliott, age seventy-five, who was found in the garden and brought back into the house. Boyd and W.M.F. ordered the three victims to sit down on the living room couches. While there, Ms. Elliott pointed out to W.M.F. that she did not have a mask on, and W.M.F. became concerned that she could be identified. Boyd checked the living room for valuables and then went upstairs to obtain neckties from an upstairs bedroom in order to tie up the victims.

Boyd returned downstairs and directed W.M.F. to take Ms. Faccio upstairs because she appeared to be having a heart attack. While W.M.F. took Ms. Faccio upstairs, Boyd began tying up Ms. Elliott and Mr. Faccio. W.M.F. returned downstairs to retrieve her gun and then went back upstairs. While Boyd was tying up Mr. Faccio, a shot was heard from upstairs. Boyd ran upstairs to find Ms. Faccio kneeling at the foot of the bed praying. W.M.F. was laughing. W.M.F. had attempted to shoot Ms. Faccio in the head, but Ms. Faccio had ducked and the bullet had missed her. At that moment, Boyd looked downstairs and noticed that Mr. Faccio was getting loose from his bindings, so he immediately ran downstairs to finish tying up Mr. Faccio. While tying up Mr. Faccio, Boyd heard a second shot from upstairs. Boyd went back upstairs and found W.M.F. holding the gun over the body of Ms. Faccio, who had been shot in the head at a distance of three inches. W.M.F. later indicated that Ms. Faccio had been pleading for her life and W.M.F. had become angry and said, “Shut up, bitch” as she pulled the trigger. When asked why she had shot Ms. Faccio, W.M.F. indicated that it was because Ms. Faccio could identify her.

Mr. Faccio called out from downstairs, asking what was wrong. Boyd told him that his wife had just been shot, and Mr. Faccio started crying. Subsequently, both Boyd and W.M.F. went downstairs. W.M.F. walked directly to Ms. Elliott and shot her in the head, killing her. Boyd then obtained more money from Mr. Faccio, (approximately $400) and, according to W.M.F., Boyd proceeded to shoot Mr. Faccio twice, first in the chest, and a second time in the head to end Mr. Faccio’s misery. Boyd asserts that W.M.F. shot Mr. Faccio in the chest, and Boyd subsequently shot Mr. Faccio in the head to end his misery.

After the murders, Boyd and W.M.F. immediately left the house without taking any other property. They went to the nearby home of Boyd’s sister, dropping the murder weapon in the woods along the way.


My grandparents were responsible people. They went to church and donated to charities. They did a good job raising their children, and an even better job spoiling their grandchildren.

They were very involved in our lives, coming to our events, we had family dinners together and I thought every grandpa smelled like garlic as it was in everything he cooked.  Even in our family with five children we all had special times with grandma and grandpa.

In the period of time since the murders, well-intentioned people have told me “Don’t worry, you will get over it in time.”

This is not reality. While we have learned to live with what happened, we do not ever “get over it.”

While other residents of Anchorage were understandably horrified that a crime like this could happen in our city, we alone were left cleaning up a house filled with bloodstains, bullet holes. We were left giving statements to police officers, and watching our backs, since no one knew who could possibly have done something so horrible.

A reward was offered to catch the murderers, and Winona Fletcher and Cordell Boyd were brought in after another criminal decided the reward worth it.

With no remorse, the two bragged to many about what they had done.  We were thankful they were taken off the streets and convicted of murder.  Originally, Fletcher was sentenced to 297 years in prison, but the courts later reduced it to 135 years. Cordell Boyd was sentenced to 99 years.


On Feb. 22, I received a call from the prison saying Cordell Boyd will be up for a parole hearing on April 2, and I was asked if I wanted to be involved.

His sentence is now my family’s sentence.

The very fact that this hearing is happening takes me back to that awful day in 1985, as if it were yesterday and I was attending East High in German class, when my brother walked in with sunglasses on saying, “Come, you need to go with me. Something bad has happened.”

We raced across town as he struggled to find the words or the place to tell me about the horrific news that no one should ever have to tell another person.

Yes, it has been a long time, and the anger has subsided, but no one gets over something like this, and every time it comes up again, we have to relearn how to live with it all over again.

Random violence can impact anyone; rich, poor, educated or not. What does a sentence actually mean if convicted murderers only have to serve a one-third of their sentences?

Our community has a growing list of random, unassociated heinous murders in our recent memory — Robert Hansen, Israel Keyes, and Jerry Active, to name a few. Cordell Boyd is one of those killers.


My late mother, Janice Lienhart, pioneered the victim’s rights movement in Alaska after my grandparents and great aunt were executed in cold blood.

She and my aunt, Sharon Nahorney, discovered the harsh reality that victims had no standing in the criminal justice process. They championed the creation of Victims for Justice, an organization that focuses on helping the victims negotiate the very confusing criminal justice system.

Because of their efforts, victims rights are now enshrined in the Alaska Constitution.

Today, I’m asking the community to step forward and, for the sake of all victims, speak out against the early release of a killer.

The Parole Board takes comments from the public. If you agree with me that Mr. Boyd should remain in prison for executing my grandparents and my great aunt, please write to the Parole Board.

The email address is [email protected] , and — importantly — make sure to copy your letter to the Office of Victim’s Rights at [email protected]

Sample wording for your letter to the Parole Board:

RE: Faccio Murders

Dear Alaska Parole Board;

I urge you to not release a murderer coming up for parole who has only served a small portion of his sentence.  Please do not release Cordell Boyd.

It only takes a minute, but your voice matters to the safety of our entire community.

Thank you.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. Members of Parole Board are appointed by the Governor. Walker is already known as the “set em free” guy. But you can bet that in this election year he will lean on the Board to not give Boyd parole. That would be the morally right decision for sure. But would be made for political reasons by Walker. Not because he will believe it the ethical and moral thing to do.

  2. I remember that terrible day. I purchased plumbing supply’s for our jobs at Toms Plumbing Supply and new the owner . That animal needs to rot in jail forever.

    • That was my great grandpa. I never got to meet him, but I have a lot of fond memories growing up and playing in the Tom’s Plumbing warehouse with my uncle’s and my grandpa Wayne.

      -David Arnold, son of Cynthia lienhart, granddaughter of Tom and And Fascio

  3. I believe these two murderers should have gotten the death penalty to begin with and save the tax payers money and the family the horror that they both caused.
    Absolutely no release for Boyd.

  4. I’ll never forget hearing this news and how it affected our community at that time and for years afterwards…Such and horrific, evil act upon innocent people. He should not be allowed back out on the streets anywhere, period!!

    • Agreed, there are numerous cases in which not only would a death sentence have been warranted but for true righteousness sake, morally mandates an expedient administration of justice.

  5. I have sent my letter. Prayers for you and your family. I don’t think anyone could ever “get over” what you have been through.

  6. Exactly. Because AK does not have the death penalty, I recommend the parole set Boyd free and that a posse made up of law-abiding citizens of Anchorage escort Mr Boyd to the outskirts of town and promptly hang him from the highest cottonwood tree.

  7. Cold blooded and heartless does not change. They will do it again. It came too easy for them and will not think twice the next time.

  8. I agree to never ever let this p.o.s. EVER see the light of day, the fact alone that this is even a possibility, makes me 100% sure that our laws and judicial system has TOTALLY collapsed. I will never again believe in this system and it’s shameful and totally embarrassing for the State of Alaska.
    How much $ has the taxpayers had to put out for this incarceration? How much does a few bullets cost? One for every limb until he bleeds out slowly.

    We need the Death penalty!! I also agree with Shem, if he ever gets out, there better be a line of people armed with weapons that will maim and injure him in an isolated spot and then left to die as slow a death as possible.
    Animals like this don’t deserve to breathe. No family should ever have to go through this in the first place, but the idea that they have to go through this again, makes my blood boil, Alaska’s judicial system should be ashamed of themselves and need to wake up!!!!!!! Heart and prayers go out to the family and survivors

  9. A jury found these two guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. They were sentenced appropriate to the crime. Justice was served.

    What has changed? Nothing.

    To 2nd guess that sentence implies it was done wrong the first time. There were no errors, We the People spoke. We said “lock these two up, and throw away the key”. That’s what a “life sentence” means. You never get out.

    Thinking that 33 years is enough to pay for three horrific murders is insanity. It’s an insult to We, the People. Innocent life is worth more than that.

    These two were given “Life” sentences. 99 years and 297 years. We, the People did not stutter when we declared that. We were not misinformed or mistaken. When that time is served, the sentences will be complete. Not until then.

    Boyd and Fletcher must remain in prison.

  10. I do remember this horrible crime! They should not be released!! The death penalty is right in this case!!

  11. Let them think about freedom and life until they assume room temperature. Replace any official who lets this early release happen. If they do get out buy them a house next to the parole board members house.

  12. I remember these horrible heinous murders. I have just written my request to the parole board to NOT to release Boyd. We don’t need him back on our streets.

  13. Wrote yesterday and already recieved email responding thanking me and saying my letter will be forwarded to board.

  14. I remember this crime happening. The family should’t even have to ask for help with this. He needs to serve his full sentence. Email sent.

  15. Thank you for posting this, Suzanne.

    Dear Tamera,

    I will most certainly write an impassioned plea to the Parole review board to keep this demon locked up for the remainder of his life. And I will post it on social media, urging my friends to do the same.

    I never understood why Alaska does not have the death penalty but California does. Those names you mentioned were clear-cut cases where it was deserved. Your family’s story was so painful to read. My heart goes out to you and your family. I am so sorry this trauma happened to you. I will pray for your peace and healing and for the board to make the right decision.

    God bless.

  16. My heart is heavy for the incredible pain you feel from this heinous crime. I also grieve the endless anger and bitterness I hear that cries out for Vengeance. God’s Holy Words of love to us tell us differently. Romans 12:19 says Beloved NEVER avenge yourselves for it is written: Vengeance is mine! I will repay – says the Lord.
    God loves each of us – even Cordell- with a love SO gracious and merciful and not of this world. (Romans 8:38-39) He promises He is near to the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18). Psalm 56:8 even tells us that he keeps track of all our sorrows and collects all our tears in His bottle. He knows your pain. He does not deny it nor diminish it one bit! The ruler of this world is the one calling you to Vengeance because he knows it will make you miserable and destroy you and lead you away from God’s love. God calls us to the high holy ground. God knows how bitterness can not heal us but gives us more pain along with high BP, ulcers, sleep loss, depression and so much more. Hatred and bitterness is truly a prolonged form of suicide.
    Psalm 19:11 declares how God’s Words warn us and in keeping them is great reward. Romans 12:14 command us to bless those that persecute us. Bless and do not curse them. The rest of the chapter details how to do this. Bitterness destroys us and only deepens our pain. Hebrews 12:15 warns us of this.
    God commands us to forgive because He forgives us. (The Lord’s Prayer). We must CHOOSE to forgive and then plead with God to give us the grace to make it happen. We do this because we love and trust God and His Word!
    As for parole, there is more to consider. It may have been God’s plan to transform Cordell by His Amazing Grace and mercy. It is all in God’s wise and knowing hands. Instead calling vengeance, pray for God’s will to be done and TRUST that His will is always good, perfect and acceptable.This is the holy ground God calls us to stand on.

    • This man can be forgiven but how do you know what God’s plan is. If, and that is a giant if, he has found redemption, he can lead fellow inmates to redemption from behind bars. Prisoners need fellow inmates to lead them to the Lord. That can be his ministry to make up for his horrific crime and make amends to God.

    • Boyd’s own comment was that he had “left childish foolishness behind”. If that statement is correct, then I would question true repentance. Of course I have only read what was printed in the ADN this morning, which is always suspect in my opinion but alas, if indeed that is the depth of Boyd’s awareness of his grievous actions from that fateful night then he needs to remain where he is, albeit even if true repentance I still feel he should remain, if not for the safety of the general public.

  17. I remember this horrific crime and have never forgotten. It shocked me to my core. The cold blooded, heartlessness displayed extreme evil. The thought of this man possibly walking free gives me chills of horror.

  18. I am saying this matter is in God’s hands! Not ours! He is God! We are not! But God DOES boldly command us to forgive those who persecute us. Bless and do not curse. Romans 12.

    • Indeed but forgiveness does not always remove consequences. Boyd and Fletcher could both sincerely repent, see their own depravity and their need for a savior, accept Jesus as Lord and be set free from sin for eternity,, but that does not negate the societal consequences they must bare. There is no verse that says a repentant sinner is set free from earthly consequences of their sin. They certainly could be, but in this instance, I highly doubt they should be. I do hope they are set free from the bondage of sin.

  19. I hope that these two murderous teenagers have had the time and punishment to realize the terrible act they committed cannot be undone. If the parole board feels they have something to give to society and will not re-offend then they should be released.

  20. I am definitely writing the Parole Board. I still vividly remember this heinous crime. I read Boyd’s comments in the paper today and the man is delusional. His statement “I have put away childish foolishness” or something to that affect is beyond comprehension. The actions were not childish foolishness, they were psychotic or demonic in nature. Boyd and Fletcher forfeited for good their right to a life of freedom. They should not be released on any account. Any judge or board that thinks it is realistic to release either of these very disturbed individuals should be required to take their place behind bars.

  21. ” Left Childish Foolishness Behind”………..MURDER? He is one SICK INDIVIDUAL.
    Why was his sentence reduced and now parole…. I don’t get it!
    My Prayers are with the family.

  22. To speak against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin, but that is a direct sin against the very life-force of God, Himself. He has the right to set such a severe limit … puts us on notice that He isn’t to be trifled with.
    God also set absolutes for those who sin against each other. There are some things we do to each other that God has declared that He will not forgive us for.
    Certainly God is merciful, willing to forgive our sins, but it is written … “No murder shall enter the kingdom of heaven”.
    I heard that Robert Hanson attended church services in Seward, but it is written … “Those who show no mercy, shall receive no mercy”.
    Are they murders? Did they show mercy?

  23. Sin is Sin! You are correct. YET, in the Psalms after David murdered Uriah and sinned with Bathsheeba, he boldly pleads with a contrite heart and repents to His Holy God. So you are saying David will NOT be in heaven? Or what about Saul, who ruthlessly stayed many Christians before God changed him. God has mighty power to change the hearts of men. That is the hope we all have for ALL of us a desperately wicked without the Holy Spirit to lead us in Christ. Oh, we still fail, but not because we want to sin, but we are human and we live this side of Glory in a sinful world. And yes, those who do not give mercy will receive no mercy, but if you judge this case based merely on the man on Ap 22, 1985, you are the one not granting mercy. How do you know God has not poured his grace into this evil mess and made Romans 8:28 a reality for all if they can forgive and trust Him. The whole story has NOT yet been told.

  24. Evil is evil Cordele Boyd, Committed a sin against God and a family left to grieve over them. He has had no remorse for what he did, discretionary parole is a bad thing in this case should never have been honored should not be honored. He should serve the full sentence. It is true Governor Walker is easy on crime but maybe this time he will go with the will of the people for a change . I am a former/retired correctional officer that has personally dealt with Cordell Boyd he was very proud of what he had done and made sure that everybody at Spring Creek knew, Carried it like a badge of honor.

    • I have known Cordell at least since the 90’s and he has been extremely remorseful. His reconciliation with 2 of the daughters was very impactful in changing him and opening his eyes to the grace of our Almighty God. I also know he was remorseful from the beginning evidenced by his no contest plea. He is NOT proud of it but instead woke up for years every day knowing he is a murderer. Yet, God broke through to him and poured his cleansing grace into this man. Now he wishes to allow God to use him to pour that same grace into others. I believe we ALL need to stop the hatred and vengeance. This is NOT from God. Rather look to God for the same radical forgiveness He offers each of us and extend that to all – including Cordell. That is exactly what the 2 daughters did and it changed the heart of Cordell. Let us all trust that our Almighty Father – who alone knows all hearts and all things past present and future – will accomplish His glorious purpose in this matter also- whatever that is. All to God’s Glory!

  25. Nancy, on channel 2 they reported that Boyd has been busted 26 times while in prison, mostly for drug related charges and for weapons possession.

    His actions speak louder than his words. He is NOT reformed and he should NOT walk free.

    Keep Boyd locked up.

  26. That is not so! Don’t go by news or hearsay! God can transform hearts and minds and Cordell deserves a chance to speak. He is repentant and depends on the grace of God everyday.

    • @Nancy, it’s not hearsay. Open your eyes and read the document for yourself. I have. 26 offenses. Drugs and weapons. He is not reformed.

      @Fed Up, I hope you write a letter to the Parole board. Your voice will be valuable to their decision making process.

    • Nancy that is absolutely true. Read the documents for yourself.. 26 counts of drug and weapons related offenses while incarcerated.

      God can transform hearts and minds. These are not the actions of a transformed man. Cordell is NOT reformed. NO PAROLE.

      • YES, he has 26 count but you know not when. He has been incarcerated for 33 years. My guess is that the majority of these occurred NOT in the last 5 years. The only weapons count was to defend himself. His parole officer is deeply impressed by his record in prison. How do you know that he has not reformed. I know he is deeply repentant over what he did and also for the pain he is now causing the family. He relies on the gracious love of God every day. He also prays for the healing of this family that he knows so well he has hurt. I know so very well, that bitterness and vengeance are poison we feed ourselves. Satan uses it to destroy us and keep the pain hurting even deeper. I pray fervently that these granddaughters will find the healing that comes from forgiveness and also realize that – even though they do not want to hear it – Cordell is faithful child of God. All who believe and give their will to Him are one family in God. We are all equal at the foot of the cross. We have ALL sinned.Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. You have yet to hear from Cordell. How can you assume he is exactly as he was when he was 19 years old? Has any one not changed in 33 years? Give your anger and vengeance to God and let him heal the hurt and pain. Only HE and and the truth of the gospel can heal our broken bitter hearts. I pray for that!

  27. Everyone on this blog that agrees he should stay and serve his sentence needs to write to the parole board there are three address’ available. I did and within an hour received a confirmation

  28. He may be repentant altho, crime has consequences and he needs to pay fully for what he did, period.!!

  29. Tamera – I just found out about all of this and was enraged to think he may be set free. Just wrote my letter. Wishing you and your family the best.

  30. I think people should read the bible where this scripture came from 1 cor 13-11 . I believe people are taking this out of context. And also lets address his 26 charges . No one has resided with him in the past 33 years of his conviction. Do you all believe that if it was you incarcerated for a horrible crime that you had committed that there is no hope that you might change. Do you believe God is not powerful enough to reach down and change the most evil person (saul) into something for Gods purpose (Paul)..
    Believe me God is and will accomplish his every purpose.

    • Yes, I believe God can change the most evil heart. There are consequences for the choices we make in life, some are long lasting and cannot be undone…we have to learn to live with them and with God’s grace we can. We can pray for this man and I hope everyone does. I wrote my letter to the board to Not release him.

  31. There should not be any thought of consideration for a second, to grant parole for this murderer, or for any murderer, let alone in this case – a serial murderer. Justice against convicted murderers should always be – a life for a life. If the death penalty is not an optional verdict, or if the jury or judge do not agree with the death penalty, a life sentence WITHOUT ANY chance of parole ever, should automatically be the only remaining penalty for convicted murderers. Because no matter how many years in prison the inmate serves, he is lucky just for living at all. Murderers do not deserve another breath of air. The lives of the innocent victims had been taken from them so satanic of the killers, and such a tragedy for the victims, the victims’ friends, their families, and for the rest of the entire American community. The victims deserve the best American justice; those who suffer the loss of a friend or loved one, they too deserve the best justice, as well as the best closure. And since the victims could never be brought back from the dead, the only way justice and closure could be made, is if the killer(s) never get released from prison, even on parole. If the killer is ever released from prison, even on parole, justice and closure is taken away from the victims, etc. Because now the killer is back in society, continuing their life, while the victim is still dead from the killer’s actions. And loved ones, etc of the victim are still grieving their loss, knowing the killer is now free from prison. With serial killers, I wish they could get the death penalty in Alaska and in other states that don’t have the death penalty. Because if a killer takes more than one life, then even if he gets convicted and sentenced to life, they’re getting away with all but one of the murders. Because the killer has only 1 lifetime to serve. So the only way to account for all murders, is to forfeit the serial killer’s right to live at all. Torture-wise. Which is why if anyone were to ask me for my advice, I would advise the serial killer be put to death, either by electrocution, or by hanging, with their hands tied behind their back and blinded with a hood covering their head, down to their neck. And let their weight pull them by the neck, snapping it, killing them instantly, long before suffocating. Even as they are unable to move their hands in front of them or breathe, or scream in pain or see what’s going on in their surrounding during the execution process. Knowing from the start, as the executioner brings out the hood, the killer is seeing the outside world and sunlight, for the very last time, because they’re going down, once and for all! That and death to follow, and all to end, are altogether, capital punishment, America. For a killer who took not one innocent life, but several. A chance for parole, that’s injustice. No matter how many years the inmate serves in prison. Releasing a killer, let alone – a serial killer, on parole ever, defies justice. In fact, probation is nothing more than closure for the killer. And a second chance at freedom for killers is also a second chance to take yet another innocent life of an American being and loved one. No matter if the killer served however many years in prison, the killer will still for the rest of their life be a killer. And no matter how long he goes without endangering anyone in any way, they’re still a danger to the public. And releasing a killer on parole, is downright, tragic inconsideration for the loving ones of the victim. So whenever the parole board does not recommend a convicted killer spend the rest of their miserable life in prison, it’s no less ignorant, idiotic, unwise and careless to the victim’s loved ones and the rest of the community, as saying- “Sure we agree the killer is guilty, and sure we recommend the killer receive probation!” It’s insanity! It’s injustice! And the victims’ loved ones suffer the lack of justice as a direct result. And Parole Board of Alaska, this is your chance to demonstrate the fact how wrong it would be to grant probation for a killer, or in this case, for a serial killer. Demonstrate how (serial) killers should receive life without parole. A life for a life. The justice they deserve. Provide the victims’ friends and loved ones the closure they deserve. #Alaska

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