Early Release Overruled in Murder Case

5-31-05 - We told you back in March how Billy Mack Downey could be set free from prison after only serving four years of a 15-year sentence. Today, we know that release date will change.

Back in 2000 Billy Mack Downey was convicted of killing 17-year-old Robert Owens and sentenced to 40 years. An appeals court dropped that to 15 years. Now District Attorney Mitch Sperry is making sure he serves as much time as possible.

When Downey received the 15-year sentence, he was not supposed to get credit for time served. But the department of corrections wasn't following the deal

Today the Carter County DA’s office took the issue to district court, and in the end, the judge upheld the original deal. And Robert Owens’s family says it's giving them new hope in the justice system.

"Every win is a big one were not going to give up and it will hopefully some day down The road help someone else who is in the same boat as us.”

Billy Downey was supposed to get out no later than December 2006 because of all his good behavior credits. Now after today, that date will be pushed back at least two years.

Since Billy Downey committed the murder before 2001, he doesn't fall under a state law that makes criminals serve at least 85 percent of their sentence for a heinous crime.