The Naval Clemency and Parole Board has denied clemency Sept. 27 to Terry Helvey who brutally murdered Allen Schindler in 1992 at a Naval installation on Okinawa, Japan. Schindler's murder sparked a nation-wide outcry because of its anti-gay nature.
The denial was confirmed in a letter to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network from Lt. Karen Giaimo of the Naval Council of Personnel Boards. The letter, dated September 24, 1996 states, "On September 18, 1996, the Naval Clemency and Parole Board voted to deny both the request for clemency and the request for advancement of parole eligibility date. The NC&PB's vote for both requests was unanimous."
The Board made its decision in a closed session, after hearing remarks from SLDN staff attorney Kirk Childress who urged the board to deny Helvey's requests. Mr. Childress spoke on behalf of Mrs. Dorothy Hajdys-Holman, Allen Schindler's mother. Mr. Childress reminded the Board of the heinous nature of Helvey's crime and that its decision would send a message about how seriously the Navy takes anti-gay violence.
Upon learning of the Board's decision, Childress said, "The Clemency Board has made the right decision. A dangerous criminal will remain behind bars and would be gay-bashers in the Navy will understand that anti-gay violence carries serious penalties."
Childress also urged all those concerned about anti-gay violence to remain involved in Helvey's attempts to win early release. Because of Naval regulations, Helvey's life sentence will be reviewed annually for possible reduction. He will be eligible for parole in 2002.
SLDN is assisting Mrs. Hajdys-Holman in distributing her petition demanding that Helvey be required to serve his entire life sentence. Copies may be obtained by calling (202) 328-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SLDN is the military legal aid and watchdog organization for those harmed by the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy. SLDN has assisted more than 950 men and women hurt by the policy in the past two years.