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Woman Sues Mississippi Parole Board for Discrimination and Retaliation

Now 60, Krecic was 27, high on drugs and on the run from a Florida burglary warrant with boyfriend Tracy Allen Hansen when the couple’s car was pulled over by Mississippi Trooper David Bruce Ladner on April 10, 1987. Hansen shot Ladner in the neck and back and fled in his patrol car, leaving him to be found by another motorist, who took the trooper to a hospital where he died two days later.

The couple was captured and charged with his murder. Hansen was convicted and executed in 2002. Based on an empty holster found under the passenger seat of his car, authorities argued that Krecic had passed him the gun. At Krecic’s 1988 trial, another prisoner detained with her — who claimed to have heard this from Krecic — testified that she had not only passed the handgun to Hansen but also encouraged him to shoot Ladner so that the couple would not be arrested on the Florida warrant. She was convicted on an accessory-to-murder charge and sentenced to life.

Since this was before Mississippi ended parole for life sentences, Krecic was eligible for parole after 10 years. After all that time, she had never been formally disciplined. But MPB denied her parole request. And the next one she made. And the next – a total of nine denials over the next two decades.

Krecic is now held at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County. After 30 years in prison, she still hasn’t been subject to any disciplinary action. She has remained drug-free since her arrest. But MPB has a list of reasons it has found to deny her parole.

They have cited the nature of her offense, but refuse to consider that she was not the person who shot Ladner or that the trial witnesses who said she instigated the shooting has since recanted that testimony.

They cited her lack of educational resources, despite the fact that she has earned over 60 college credits.

They cited her lack of “obligations to be a law-abiding citizen,” even though she was one of only 32 prisoners chosen to live in an unsupervised honor dorm.

They cited two five-year sentences that she must still serve consecutively in Florida upon her release from Mississippi, but according to MPB policy this is a factor in favor of parole, not against it.

They have also said she has served an insufficient portion of her life sentence. But other women convicted of similar crimes around the same time have had their life sentences paroled – after 15 to 28 years for a group of 12 White women, and after 10 to 14 years for another group of 15 White women and a third group of 19 African-Americans, three of whom also had violent institutional records.

Finally, they have cited opposition to her release, both by Ladner’s family and the Mississippi State Troopers Association. At her parole hearings, she has been told there is “strong opposition” to her parole, but this reason “shall not be a conclusive reason to deny the offender parole” under MS Code Section 47-7-17.

Unofficially, MPB members have stated “[the opposition] would need to change before we see fit to parole her.” Given that MPB seemed unwilling to give her a fair hearing, Krecic submitted a complaint to the Rankin County Court in October 2019 accusing MPB of retaliation and violating her right to due process.

The case is now before the U.S. District Court for Southern Mississippi, with Special Attorney General J. Chadwick Williams representing MPB, which he said had acted “reasonably.” If Krecic prevails, she will be sent to Florida to serve her additional sentences and finally released shortly after turning 70. See: Krecic v. Pickett, Case No. 3:20-cv-210-HTW-LRA, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Miss.). 

 

Related legal case

Krecic v. Pickett