Man convicted in firefighter killing granted parole hearing

The man convicted in the 2016 killing of a Sherwood Firefighter is raising tensions and eyebrows, after getting a chance at parole.Mark Pruitt has been behind bars for less 10 months.

SHERWOOD, Ark. (KTHV) - The man convicted in the 2016 killing of a Sherwood Firefighter is raising tensions and eyebrows, after getting a chance at parole. Mark Pruitt has been behind bars for less than 10 months.

Lt. Jason Adams, a 29 year-old firefighter, was killed in the line of duty as he was volunteering for the East Pulaski Fire Department. Mark Pruitt, his killer, was given eight years in prison.

So it came as a shock to Adams' family when, after less than a year behind bars, Pruitt had a parole hearing.

"I do not think five months is even enough time to allow our family to heal over him shooting my son. Let alone be let out of prison for us to have to face him in the neighborhood on a daily basis,” said Adams’ mother, Phylis Stroud, as she faced the Arkansas State Parole Board Wednesday morning in defense of her son, Jason Adams.

"Mark has not done anything to try to better himself. I just think that releasing Mark at this time would be devastating for the whole neighborhood. Because there are people who still have hurt feelings over him taking the life of my son who was a wonderful firefighter," she said.

THE CRIME 
Jan. 22, 2016 was a snowy winter day. Early that morning, a 911 call was placed stating that a neighbor was reportedly having a seizure. Lt. Jason Adams' family says he took the call. He said another first responder didn't need to risk their safety in the snow when he was so close. When he walked inside the Pruitt family home, he was shot and later died.

Mark Pruitt pled guilty on manslaughter charges in March of 2017, arguing he thought Adams was an intruder. He was sentenced to eight years in prison. 

Stroud says she never imagined she'd have to provide a victim statement so soon after his conviction.

"Instead of being allowed to heal and try to get a mindset on what has happened, we are going to spend our time fighting to keep Mark behind bars as long as we can. Because Jason is gone. He's gone forever,” the grieving mother told us after the meeting.

THE PAROLE HEARING
How could it be possible for Pruitt to get a Parole hearing after serving less than a year?

A member of the Parole Board says it's based on a sentencing guideline. Pruitt fell within the timeframe, but that doesn't mean he will be released.

He was supposed to plead his case to the parole board Tuesday but his attorney couldn't be there so they deferred his testimony for thirty days.

That means Pruitt will be behind bars at least another month before the parole board issues its decision.

© 2018 KTHV-TV


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