Denison residents petition against child killer's parole

Published: Oct. 16, 2014 at 6:37 PM CDT
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DENISON, Texas -- Nearly 45 years after the murder of a young girl, a convicted child killer is still haunting residents.

On a typical April school day in 1970 Denison, a fifth-grade girl was making her way home from school. And just like any other day, she rode the bus with her friend. It would be the last time the two saw each other.

Laurie Stevens parted ways with her friend at the bus stop, but never made it back to her secluded home. Laurie was missing for nearly 60 hours before her body was found.

Author Laura Haworth recalls how her murder rattled the community. "Her body was found a few days later," Haworth said. " I no longer visited the woods, and I used to go there all the time.

Soon after Laurie Stevens' body was discovered, Denison resident Charles Dennis Easley was arrested and convicted for her murder, but because of a technicality, the conviction was later overturned.

Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown described the crime as violent, and one that involved innocent victims. "It's something that people don't forget," he said.

Easley remains in prison, though, for the murder of another young girl, Donna Marie Golish. Easley is scheduled for a parole hearing in January, which alarmed a group enough to start a Change.org petition to keep Easley behind bars - and almost 500 people have signed it.

Toni Campbell, who was attending elementary school in Denison during the time of the murder signed the petition. "I don't want him let out -- ever -- so I signed the petition," she said.

For the time being Easley remains behind bars where many who remember his crimes say they want him to remain.