Friday, January 5, 2018

Killer of JSU professor free on parole

Once upon a time in Mississippi, life did not mean life when someone went to prison.  Eula Roundtree served only ten years of her "life" prison sentence after she was convicted of killing  Dr. Clara Porter in cold blood in 1987.  The Parole Board saw fit to set her free in 2000.  This case is a prime example of why the "85% rule" and other "truth in  sentencing" measures were passed by the legislature in the early 1990's. 

Eula Roundtree

Dr.  Porter was a 37-year old attractive professor at JSU.  Students loved her and she was well-respected by her peers.  She revived the Opera South guild to much success.  However, the professor who had so much to live for made the mistake of dating one of the more notorious cads to inhabit Jackson,  JPD officer Cleon Butler. A Mississippi Supreme Court opinion provides the relevant details of the case:

In 1983, Eula met Sgt. Cleon Butler of the Jackson Police Department. They decided to marry in June 1983, but Cleon changed his mind and married another woman, Debra, in May, 1983. Almost immediately after Cleon and Debra married, Cleon assured Eula that he would divorce Debra and that they would eventually marry as previously planned. With this assurance in mind, Eula was persuaded by Cleon to spend a lot of money on him; for example, she bought him new tires for his automobile, a bedspread for his and Debra's marital home, as well as draperies and blinds. She even loaned him $1,500.

Cleon's assurance, Eula soon learned, was an insincere one. He did separate from Debra and divorce her after approximately one year of marriage. Cleon and Eula did re-commence their relationship. However, Eula discovered that Cleon was also seeing other women including Clara Porter, who Eula warned to "stay away" from her fiancé. Her warning was to no avail; Cleon and Clara continued to see one another. Meanwhile, Cleon would call Eula on numerous occasions and persuade her to come to his house and have sex. Sometimes, he would physically and mentally abuse her. For example, he would call her names, embarrass her in front of others, and beat her. On a few occasions, he threatened her with a knife or a gun.

Eula's emotional state worsened as Cleon's abusive nature and broken promises became a customary matter in her life......
On March 10, 1987, Eula purchased a gun and ammunition. Nine days later, she went to Cleon's home and waited on the porch for him to return from work. Her plan was to commit suicide; instead, she fatally shot Clara Porter who showed up unexpectedly. Eula explained that she did not mean to shoot Clara; in fact, she doesn't really know what happened. The gun simply "went off two times in rapid succession" when Clara screamed in response to seeing Eula with a gun. Rest of opinion.
Roundtree shot Dr. Porter in the head and chest.  The murder of the popular professor was a blow to the community.  However, Roundtree got one break after another.

She was allowed to post a $50,000 bond.  She was allowed to remain free on appeal.  Judge Coleman released  her from incarceration after she was convicted because the Hinds County Detention Center's female section was overcrowded.  She remained free for two weeks. She eventually reported to prison to serve her sentence.

Fortunately for Dr. Porter's killer, the Parole Board felt merciful in November 2000 and granted parole.  She walked forth a free woman on December 14, 2000, just in time to make it home for Christmas. A life sentence in 1988 mean that a killer was eligible for parole after only ten years.

 Meanwhile, Dr. Porter didn't get to celebrate Christmas with her loved ones.

Why is the Kingfish reporting this old crime? It took place over thirty years ago.  Dr. Porter meant quite a bit to more than a few people in the community.  The reporter who did an excellent job in covering this story moved on to another career and no one ever reported on the parole and frankly, it deserves to be reported.  The parole serves as a helpful reminder of why some of the much-criticized "tough on crime" legislation was passed.

There is also the fact that Dr. Porter deserves to have this troubling news about her killer reported, even if it is 17 years too late. Someone has to speak for the victim. 

 The Parole Board members were Donald Pope, Patricia Miller, Kareem West, Morris Lee Scott, and Marilyn Starks.


Anonymous said...

KF....... you think that is a tragedy, report on the release of one douglas hodgkins by the parole board in 2009. that capital murder took place in oxford in 1986.

Kingfish said...

Pitt, can't approve your comment due to the language. You are spot on though.

I found out about the parole yesterday so I thought it was worthy of a post.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU, for bringing this to everyone's attention, how soon we forget!!

Anonymous said...

Correct 8:16: how soon we forget.......

Anonymous said...

Those five parole board members were all Musgrove appointments. The parole board is
only as good as the members. It’s ironic that Morris Lee Scott as a legislator along with
senator Mike Gunn and representative Ken Stribling were the ones who pushed the 85% rule
law in the first place.

Anonymous said...

It's been 17 years and no one has heard a derogatory word about Ms Roundtree. I recall this case and it was so emotional that manslaughter was the crime committed although jury said murder. She did her time and has bothered no one since. Go blame Cleon because that philanderer caused everything

She Done Her Time... said...

7:30 - Please allow us to understand your claim that 'she did her time'. What sort of math or thought process brings you to that conclusion?

Meanwhile, still chuckling at The Kingfish's comment that he censored a comment because of language. Is there any word in the street-dictionary that has not been allowed here at least a hundred times?

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile: "Big Apple Brings Big Bucks To Mabus Reelection Campaign"...


The boy musta had pictures of thousands of people up to and including Clinton and Obama.

Anonymous said...

Love endures all.

Anonymous said...

Has she committed a crime since she got out? Ran a stop sign, gotten a speeding ticket? Leave these folks alone, if you just found out about it after all these years later, why open the wounds?

Anonymous said...

Because, 11:07, we, as citizens, deserve to know how our government operates and what decisions they make.....even if we find out years later. There is no statute of limitations on our right to transparency and our right to know these things.

Your question is about as ridiculous as somebody who might claim Byron De la Beckwith harmed nobody and let a quiet life for the last 45 years prior to his conviction.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Porter and Mrs. Round tree deserved better than Cleon, I believe to this day he should have been charged with something. Two lovely women destroyed. I was in highschool when this occurred.

Anonymous said...

“Tough on crime” legislation was enacted to benefit private prison and prison upply industries. Great “shocking” stories help that stay in place. Not every inmate needs to serve 85%.

Anonymous said...

8:06 - What a revelation. Who gets to decide which need to serve 86%? You? How do we know which we need to give dispensation to? Do we turn to you for advice? What behavioral chart do we keep on prisoners to let us know when one has 'served enough time'? Do we ask you?

There were no private prisons when these rules were put in place. These rules were put in place due to public outcry and survivor demands.

Anonymous said...

"Teen gets 5 year term in gang related death" - there's a societal problem that we've made nearly zero headway with in 30 years.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS