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Griffith opposing Epperly parole

By MELINDA WILLIAMS
melinda@southwesttimes.com

Although Stephen Matteson Epperly murdered Gina Renee Hall three years prior to the birth of Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Justin Griffith, Griffith says the crime’s impact on the community has been visible to him throughout his life.
Epperly comes up for parole again May 17, so Griffith and Epperly’s prosecutor Everett Shockley plan to attend the parole hearing to “implore” the parole board to keep the murderer behind bars “the rest of his natural life.”
Pending the hearing, Griffith also sent letters to parole board members, expressing his views on the matter.
“I am strenuously and unequivocally opposed to his parole, under any circumstances,” Griffith states in the letter.
Epperly was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for beating Hall to death at a home on Claytor Lake June 28, 1980. Hall’s remains have never been found and Epperly has maintained he is innocent of the crime.
“It is my understanding the evidence at trial showed blood splatter that is consistent with her being beaten to death,” Griffith states in his letter. “I write ‘consistent with’ because Gina Renee Hall’s body has never been located. Her family has suffered not knowing where her remains are for over 40 years.”
In addition to writing a letter to parole board members and planning to attend the May parole hearing, Griffith notes he also is seeking to schedule an appointment with a member of the board.
“Freedom should not now be nor should it ever be an option for [Epperly]. He forfeited that right with his actions and the sentence recommended by a jury of his peers.
“I am proud to speak for the whole county and urge you to see fit that Epperly remains incarcerated. He is indeed an unrepentant predator who shattered the Hall family and innocence of those in this county. He is exactly where he needs to be and he needs to remain there for the rest of his natural life,” Griffith’s letter concludes.
Griffith also references a letter Shockley submitted to the parole board May 12, 2020, saying, “His level of concern for the safety of the public surrounding any release of Epperly speaks to not only Mr. Shockley’s passion for justice, but the dangerousness of Mr. Epperly.”

Stephen Epperly’s original booking photo from 1980

Epperly today

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