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News10NBC Investigates: Killer's wait time for parole hearings drops from 2 years to 9 months

Berkeley Brean
Created: February 14, 2020 06:27 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The killer of a 14-year-old girl from Rochester is up for parole, and now he's getting more chances to get out.

And every time he does, his victim's sister has to testify to keep him in prison. And that makes her relive that terrible day. 

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So News10NBC is investigating to find out why the murderer is getting so many chances at parole. 

The murder of Tracy Kotlik was back in 1984. The killer, David Larson, got 25 years to life. Beginning in 2010, his parole hearings used to be every two years. But then that dropped to 15 months. Now it's nine months. 

Mary Kotlik, Tracy's sister, walked into the New York State Parole office in Rochester Friday morning to, once again, tell the board to her keep her sister's killer in prison. 

"It makes me relive the whole thing like it just happened yesterday every time I got to do this," Mary said. 

After her testimony, Mary came to the News10NBC station and shared her story and photos with me. 

"And this is my favorite picture," she said. "Me, Tracy and Amanda."

Amanda is her daughter. 

Tracy was her sister. 

Tracy was in eighth grade when she was murdered inside Mary's apartment, and it was Mary who found her. 

"On the floor. Naked. Stabbed to death," Mary recalled. 

News10NBC obtained the history of David Larson's parole hearing:

Initial Parole Board Appearance:  04.06.2010 (Denied) 

Parole Board Appearance:           04.10.2012 (Denied)

Parole Board Appearance:           04.01.2014 (Denied)

Parole Board Appearance:           03.29.2016 (Denied)

Parole Board Appearance:           03.21.2018 (Denied)

Parole Board Appearance:           06.18.2019 (Denied)

Next Scheduled Parole Board Appearance is the week of March 16, 2020

The first five times they were two years apart. But last year the time dropped to 15 months and when he goes in front of the parole board in March, it'll be nine months. 

NYS Corrections told me parole hearing must happen after 24 months but there is no state law that sets a minimum amount of time.

Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "Did anyone ever explain to you why he's coming up for these hearings sooner than he used to?"

Mary Kotlik: "No." 

Brean: "No explanation at all."

Kotlik: "Nope. It makes me feel like they're going to let him out this time."

Brean: "And it's making you relive this horrible event sooner and sooner."

Kotlik: "Correct."

A study by Fordham University suggests the parole hearings happen sooner as a way to get around appeals filed by inmates when they get denied. 

I specifically asked the state -- was there a rule or regulation change? 

The state corrections did not answer that question. 

David Larson's parole hearing is March 16.


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