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Convicted Durham rapist serving life sentence gets parole

Posted January 25, 2012

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— A convicted rapist serving a life sentence has been granted parole and is expected to be released in 2013, the North Carolina parole commission said Wednesday.

Kenneth Desmond Howard, 56, was convicted of first-degree rape in Durham County in September 1986 and sentenced to life in prison. He is currently at Tillery Correctional Center, a minimum-security prison in Halifax County.

His parole release date is June 21, 2013.

Howard is being released through the Mutual Agreement Parole Program, a three-way agreement between an inmate, the Division of Prisons and the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission. The program establishes a scheduled release date for inmates eligible for parole and prepares them for reentry into society through educational and vocational activities.

In 1994, state law changed to a structured sentencing system, which eliminates the possibility of parole on a life sentence. However, the parole commission is obligated to parole offenders who were sentenced under the previous guidelines.

During his incarceration, Howard was cited for four disciplinary infractions, including committing a sexual act in 1989 and fighting in 1990. His latest infraction – disobeying orders – was in 2006, according to the state Department of Correction website.

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  • vegasbabyvegas Jan 27, 2012

    What politician would ever think that the Mutual Agreement Parole Program would ever be acceptable for convicted rapists and convicted killers. Those convicted of violent crimes should be imprisoned as long as possible.

  • Reason Season Jan 27, 2012

    I hope WRAL WILL follow up on this story and help the public understand how much in the dark the PUBLIC is in NC. WHY was this running AFTER the DECISION was made? Why was there NO PUBLIC NOTIFICATION BEFORE the PAROLE COMMISSION VOTED? I believe in this digital internet age, it would EASY to departments/agencies to handle PUBLIC NOTICES! IN NC, there has been a concerned effort to keep the public at bay - literraly. Have you EVER TRIED TO DRIVE IN TO RALEIGH to ATTEND A COMMITTEE MEETING or a SESSION of the ASSEMBLY? How about follow a bill? Even at the local levels, where I live, the City Council, if you are fortunate enough to KNOW something is on the agenda, the COUNCIL has rules which prevent citizens from commenting BEFORE THE COUNCIL VOTES, and they passed rules so public comments are tailored to only a few minutes (3 minutes for an individual or 6 minutes TOTAL for 2 or more) and folks may not address the COUNCIL in consecutive sessions and folks are not allowe to address

  • iknowmyschnitzel Jan 27, 2012

    No worries fishingirl. He was sentenced with a parole eligibility date but it won't even be up for review until he is 119 years old. You can call NCDOC and request public information which includes release and parole dates.

  • Reason Season Jan 27, 2012

    "You do know that statistics do not bear your assumption out, right? Ezekiel c23 v19to20"

    How can anyone in NC rely on STATS when the STATE does NOT require CRIME REPORTING, it is VOLUNTARY and UNVERIFIED at EVERY LEVEL. This in turn means the FBI UNIFORM CRIME numbers are not accurate. And for the record, there are problems at multiple levels in multiple states where crime reporting goes. EVER HEARD OF GIGO - Garbage in, garbage out.

    CRIME numbers in NC are politically protected at this time in favor of CRIMINALS. You Ezekial, clearly have not done YOUR RESEARCH! I have! At least I am trying - ROY COOPER's office has been hampering my efforts for years.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Jan 27, 2012

    "These people will NEVER change and I just don't understand how they can continue to let them out KNOWING they will just rape again!!!!"

    You do know that statistics do not bear your assumption out, right?

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Jan 27, 2012

    "So, if my rapist (#0416010)got life in 1992, does that mean he really gets life, or will he be eligible for parole soon? It's been 20 years."

    well, depending on his behavior in prison, he may well be.

  • fishingirl Jan 26, 2012

    In 1994, state law changed to a structured sentencing system, which eliminates the possibility of parole on a life sentence. However, the parole commission is obligated to parole offenders who were sentenced under the previous guidelines.
    Seriously, I really need to know if my rapist (DOC Number: 0416010) will fall under these guidelines. Does anyone here know who I would need to contact? These people will NEVER change and I just don't understand how they can continue to let them out KNOWING they will just rape again!!!!

  • fishingirl Jan 26, 2012

    So, if my rapist (#0416010)got life in 1992, does that mean he really gets life, or will he be eligible for parole soon? It's been 20 years.

  • iknowmyschnitzel Jan 26, 2012

    Tax Man, Life is now Life but back when he was sentenced, they had the option of Life with Parole.

  • pm2 Jan 26, 2012

    I think Atwater was out on probation from earlier crimes after he convinced the justice system that he was not a threat to society....

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