WOODLAND (CBS13) - A convicted killer has been set free as the state tries to reduce the spread of COVID-19 behind bars, and now the family of the victim is furious.
Convicted murderer, Terebea Williams, was sentenced to 84 years-to-life in prison but served less than a quarter of that sentence.
Williams, 44, was convicted in 2001 of first-degree murder, use of a firearm, carjacking, and kidnapping in the death of 23-year-old Kevin "John" Ruska Jr. Confused and angry, Ruska's sister Dena Love is now wanting justice all over again for her little brother.
"I can't understand why this is happening at all... I always felt responsible for him, I'm the older sister," said Love.
Williams held Ruska at gunpoint in February of 1998, putting him in the trunk of his car until she shot him in the abdomen and then continued to drive 750 miles from Washinton State to Davis. She then tied him to a chair in a motel, leaving one of his legs free so he could stomp for help but by the time he was found, he was dead.
"And for this to come down, for her to walk, I don't even know why, to this day, why my son is dead," said his father, Kevin Ruska, Sr.
His family has lived with that question for more than two decades and they are now faced with another question: why is his killer able to walk free? The
CDCR did not offer them an explanation for the early release and no opportunity for them to fight it either. A spokesperson sent CBS13 this link in response to our request for an explanation to the release, explaining the department's goal to maximize space in prison in an effort to manage the spread of COVID-19.
"It's appalling to me everything that's been allowed to happen. I don't think for one second she's going to walk out there a changed person, she's not," said Ruska's cousin, Karri Phillips.
"It makes me so sad and angry that he hasn't been here with us all this time," said Love.
The California District Attorney's office met with CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz Wednesday. The Yolo County District Attorney's Office told CBS13 prosecutors are "hopeful that there will be a more balanced approach to inmate releases that addresses the needs to mitigate the spread of COVID."
The California District Attorney's Office met with the corrections secretary today and they're hoping for a better approach to releasing inmates from now on.
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