Local Politics

Perdue: Blocking inmate release 'totally different' from hiring convicted killer

Posted November 3, 2009
Updated November 19, 2009

— Sally Holloman was convicted in 1981 of fatally poisoning her husband and killing a Selma businessman by shooting him five times in the back and setting him on fire.

About two decades later, then-Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue hired Holloman to work in her office in the State Capitol as part of a Department of Correction work-release program.

Sally Holloman Supervision key to fight over inmate release

As governor, Perdue is now fighting the release of 27 inmates who were sentenced to life under an old sentencing law, but she said Tuesday that the two situations are "totally different."

Holloman was paroled in 2005. Perdue wrote a positive evaluation of Holloman's work, which was included in her file before the Parole Commission.

"Sally is now working in the private sector, making good money. She is an older woman who I believe is very well supervised," Perdue said.

Although Perdue has repeatedly backed up her refusal to release the inmates by saying she believes a life sentence should mean life in prison, she said Tuesday that supervision outside of prison is what separates the Holloman case from the rest.

The 27 inmates were scheduled to be released last Thursday after the state Supreme Court agreed with double murderer Bobby Bowden, who contended that a 1970s law defined a life sentence as 80 years and sued for his release.

The 1981 Fair Sentencing Act included a retroactive provision that essentially cut all of those sentences in half, and good behavior and other credits have shortened the sentences to the point that they are now complete.

Over time, Perdue said, more than 120 people serving life sentences could qualify for early release under the Supreme Court's ruling.

Holloman was in a supervised setting while working at the capitol and remains in one, Perdue said. The release of the 27 inmates she opposes doesn't provide them with any supervision once they get out of prison, she said.

"(I) support parole under the auspices of the Parole Commission, where there is community supervision," she said. "The release by the courts automatically of more than 120 rapists and murderers – people that are heinous – to live next door to you and your young child with no supervision is inappropriate in my opinion.

"I do not support automatic release without supervision. I can't see these (cases) are anything near the same."

According to the Department of Correction, 603 inmates serving life sentences have been paroled since 1995. All went through a comprehensive transitional program, and less than 8 percent returned to prison.

A majority of the 27 inmates covered by the court order will not have gone through any transitional program. Three of the inmates were enrolled in a work-release program and would have been free to pursue work outside prison walls before Perdue's decision to block their release.

Appellate defender Staples Hughes, who represents the inmates, said the state should immediately begin preparing the inmates for release by offering them job training, mentoring and other counseling.

"If the governor is saying, 'I am afraid that these people are going to be a problem for public safety,' let's do something about that because they're going to be released," Hughes said.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case in a few months.

60 Comments

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  • wildcat Nov 4, 4:17 p.m.

    Supervision in this state doesn't mean someone is with her 24/7...

    Exactly! Hear about the case where the ten bodies were found. The officials were only allowed to go to his door. They would have to have a warrant to "enter" the home. I believe these laws need to be change for the safety of the public people.

  • wildcat Nov 4, 4:04 p.m.

    Right about now, I know there are some unhappy criminals. So now its a wait and see what is going to really happen.

  • wildcat Nov 4, 3:59 p.m.

    I am still wondering how all of this is going to turn out. No its does not make sense to allow these dangerouse criminals out, when the courts continually to put dangerous criminals behind bars. Am I confused or what? Maybe the Supreme courts along with the Gov. Purdue will solve this soon.

  • concerncitizen Nov 4, 3:20 p.m.

    Governor, you don't know what Sally Holloman is doing, she could easily be poisoning people all over the country! Supervision in this state doesn't mean someone is with her 24/7... In this state, she comes to an office tells some person setting behind a desk that she is obey the laws. then she leaves and goes about her business of killing more people...after working all day at that good job with good pay you helped her get.... How concerned have you been with her victims families. Have you help them get good jobs with good pay? I bet you don't know one thing about how they are doing? Now you expect me to believe you're concerned about me! Arrogance and no common sense! Why didn't you just stay out of this. Why did you run for office? Did you really think no one was going to look closely at you? Easley NCSU, campaign finance, murder working in the capital. What were you think? Oh, forget I asked!

  • Raptor06 Nov 4, 2:33 p.m.

    "...and good behavior..."

    Murder is the ultimate "bad" behavior. Not to be flippant, but these "people" should be released only with the verbal permission of their dead victims. No permissions...no release.

  • lilreno is in the wind Nov 4, 2:33 p.m.

    I'm taking bets that bev WONT be gov next time.

  • HanginTough Nov 4, 11:54 a.m.

    She is a loon. How in the world could she have hired a convicted felon anyway? Yes, they need jobs but you murder to people why are you still breathing? Just another example of a system that is too lax on punishment - why didn't she get the dealth penalty. Beverly is an embarrassment and the state of NC is not too far behind. Last night elections did show us a glimmer of hope...Bad Beverly...very bad!

  • TiredOleMan Nov 4, 11:41 a.m.

    Ugghhh, The laws need to be changed. Maybe they should re-examine shortening sentancing based on good behaviour. It sounds humane - but what about the crime? Should'nt 'good behaviour' just award them w/ certain ammenties in prison?
    Does early release apply to 'blue collar' crimes?

  • just my2cents Nov 4, 11:27 a.m.

    I hope those who voted for her are pleased with their decision. I didn't, and wouldn't.

  • mistersinister Nov 4, 10:49 a.m.

    There's a chance this woman may poison you, shoot you, or set you on fire, but she types 75 words a minute and is a wiz on the fax machine.

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