Just days before the 30th anniversary of the murders of a Marine and his wife, the surviving family members learned the man convicted of killing them was denied his requested parole.
Marine Pvt. Ronnie Curtis, now 62, killed James and Joan Lotz in their home on Camp Lejeune on April 14, 1987. He was convicted of their murders and violating a lawful general order, willfully damaging government property, burglary, indecent assault, three counts of larceny, and two counts of housebreaking, The Daily News reported.
James Lotz, 28, was Curtis’ commanding officer in the . Curtis, then 21-years-old, went to his home where he molested Joan Lotz, 28, a teacher at Lejeune High School, and stabbed them both to death, Grace Medallis, Joan Lotz’s sister, told The Daily News.
Though Curtis was originally sentenced to death in August 1987, his sentenced was reversed in June 1997 and now every two years, he gets the possibility of parole while the Lotz family has to relive the young couple’s deaths in court.
Before the parole board met March 7 in Beamont, Texas, Mary Halpin Swift, Joan Lotz’s sister, implored the Camp Lejeune and Jacksonville communities to send letters to the parole board backing them up, asking for his parole to be denied.
“The Halpin/Lotz families greatly appreciate their letters of support in our quest to keep Curtis where he belongs,” Swift said.
The day of the parole board hearing, Smith said the hearing examiner decided to withhold her decision until she read “a voluminous number of documents and letters.” The U.S. Parole Commissioners were also to review everything before making the final decision.
The examiner asked Curtis questions about the events leading up to the night he killed the couple and had him describe the night, Swift said.
“It was chilling and disturbing to say the least,” she said. “He was pretty matter-of-fact about it.”
While Swift watched from afar in a conference room on a television, her brother and sisters were in the room, she said.
On Monday, Swift and her family were told Curtis’ parole was denied.
“Needless to say, we are relieved,” Swift said, adding that Friday is the 30th anniversary of their deaths.
Mandatory parole hearings for Curtis will be held every two years, Swift said.
Anyone who would like to write a letter to the board for future parole hearings may send their letters to the U.S. Parole Commission in the care of Najah A. Barton, supervisory victim’s coordinator, 90 K St. N.E., Washington, DC 20530.
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