Wayne East was supposed to be paroled on Thursday. The convicted murderer of prominent Abilene resident Mary Eula Sears had, at least in the eyes of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, paid his debt to society. He had also behaved himself while in prison. It was time to go home.
That is, until the good people in Taylor County began complaining; in particular the people who enforce the laws. Police Chief Stan Standridge, District Attorney James Eidson, and Sheriff Les Bruce all wrote letters to the board asking that it not let East come back to Abilene. Standridge told the Abilene Reporter-News, “My personal thought was I believed it was incumbent on me to represent the family and the majority of the community to try to block his release back to Abilene.”
So on Thursday the board voted to add “Special Condition Z” to East’s parole, which restricts which counties he can go to. He can’t even enter Taylor, Jones, Runnels, Coleman, and Callahan counties. And since he was, by law, required to be initially paroled to Taylor County, now he can’t go anywhere at all. According to Jason Clark at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “East’s current parole plan has been cancelled. The next step is to look at any alternate plans already submitted. If that’s not successful, an institutional parole officer will go and meet with the inmate to try and determine if there is another suitable location for him to reside. The parole division will investigate any parole plans submitted. If a residence can not be found, the offender will be placed on a list for possible placement in a halfway house.”
In other words, East is a man without a county and won’t be leaving prison on Thursday. The thing is, he almost certainly wasn’t going to stick around Abilene anyway, especially with members of law enforcement feeling the way they do. He’s got family in Dallas and will probably make his next home there. That is, unless there’s a Special Condition Q or Y that says he can’t do that either.