State board considers parole for killer known as 'the Animal'

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Roger Leroy DeGarmo

86-year-old Wayne Strickler’s life was forever changed by Roger Leroy DeGarmo.

“He changed a lot of things,” said Strickler. “My personality, he changed my outlook on life and he devastated my family. I don’t have grandchildren because of him.”

In 1980, DeGarmo was sentenced to death for shooting Strickler’s 20-year-old daughter Kimberly in the head while she begged him to spare her life. But an appeals court granted DeGarmo a new trial in 1994.

“He’s admitted to it and threatened people and he’s never expressed any remorse or regret,” said Kimberly’s brother Wayne Strickler Jr. “Basically said in so many words if he was faced with the same conditions and circumstances again, he would do the same thing again.”

In his first trial, DeGarmo told the jury he would kill them all in their sleep if they didn’t sentence him to death. They obliged.

But the second jury gave DeGarmo a sentence of life in prison instead.

“I remember afterwards, the jury was stunned to find out that when they came back with life, he was immediately eligible for parole and they said if we would have known that, we would have given him the death penalty,” said Mayor’s Crime Victims Office advocate Andy Kahan.

“We think if he ever got out, he would go for me and my son immediately,” said Strickler. “We’re going to have to watch our back.”

This is the eighth time the father and son have appeared before the parole board asking that DeGarmo stay in prison.

“We’ve been successful in keeping him in and thanks to you, Randy, I think you’ve had a big part in helping us do that,” said Strickler.

During the last session of the Texas Legislature, lawmakers passed a bill giving the parole board the discretion to only consider capital murder inmates like DeGarmo for release once every ten years. The Strickler family is asking the parole board to do just that.