A jury convicted Cassie Johnson of gunning down Raleigh police officer D.D. Adams during a routine traffic stop on February 3, 1980.
In August 2000, Johnson is up for parole. The victim's family and friends are fighting her release by helping people remember the tragedy.
"She was sitting in the back seat of a police car, had been arrested for driving under the influence, pulled out that .38 and shot D.D. in the back of the head," remembers Rodger Phillips, a retired police officer.
D.D. Adams' name is etched in a monument to fallen city workers. The memory of his death is etched in the mind of the retired officer
"I was kind of devastated. It hurts when a fellow police officer is shot," says Phillips.
"I remember my dad as a very devoted police officer, a very devoted father. He loved his family more than anything else," says Phillip Adams, who was just 14 years old when he mourned with his mother at his father's funeral.
Twenty years later, Adams is fighting to keep his father's killer from going free.
Cassie Johnson was sentenced to life in prison, but now, at age 49, is up for parole. This could be the year good behavior has earned her a spot in a Charlotte halfway house and a work-release job.
"The question in my mind is what does a life sentence mean to the state of North Carolina?" asks Adams. "I know at some point she will be released, but if it's up to me, if I can do anything to stop it, I will."
Phillip Adams has started a petition drive to keep Johnson from getting released. He is already getting support from police departments across the country.
"I don't think anybody that shoots a police officer should be paroled," says Phillips. "I don't care what kind of reform they go through. I don't care how much education they've obtained since they've been in prison. It's not right."
Johnson declined to be interviewed for this story. TheNorth Carolina Parole Commissionwill look at her case on August 18.