Family Fights To Keep Mother's Killer Behind Bars


UPDATED: Friday October 5, 2012 6:06 AM

A family is fighting to keep their mother's killer behind bars more than 30 years after her murder.

Wilma Louise Walls was beaten, raped and strangled by a Columbus cab driver 36 years ago. Her body was placed in a drainage ditch, where it remained for six days.

"The last day I seen her alive was on my 20th birthday," said Barbara Duncan, Walls' oldest daughter. "Two weeks later I went to the morgue and identified her body."

Police arrested Thomas Kelley, the cab driver who picked Walls up from her home, for the murder. He would later confess and plead guilty to rape and voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

"To tell my mom and dad that their first born child had been found viciously murdered, left in a drainage ditch and raped," Bill Todd, Walls' brother said. "It's hard to understand how anybody could do that to a person."

The crime and the pain are rarely far from the minds of Walls' loved ones.

"It just never goes away," Duncan said. "It's always there, always there."

Walls' family members were stunned to hear that Kelley had been recommended for parole.

"I just thought, 'Oh no, this can't be, they can't be letting him out,'" Duncan said.

The family has requested, and been granted, a hearing before the parole board.

"He's a predator, he's a vicious person and justice hasn't been served yet," Todd said.

Powerless to change the past, Walls' family is determined to have a say in Thomas Kelley's future.

"I do it for myself, for a sense of security," Duncan said. "I do it for my mom to help her rest in peace, and for other families out there. I don't want this to happen to someone else."

The family is asking for support from the public in its effort to keep Kelley behind bars.

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