Originally created 05/26/98

A killer's good luck 052698 - The Augusta Chronicle



Jammie Lyn Lee has no complaint that his bid for parole was turned down. In fact, he should count himself lucky.

The former Lakeside High School student was sentenced to 10 years -- which is a tame enough term for driving schoolmate Melanie Richey across the state line to South Carolina and then participating in her brutal 1994 pipe-bomb slaying with two other teenage low-lifes.

Lee's sentence wasn't stiffer because he cooperated with authorities in helping convict two of his killer colleagues.

Even so, just about everyone familiar with the cruel, senseless killing believes Lee ought to serve every minute of his decade-long sentence. Murder is not a trivial business. It would be an insult to Melanie Richey's life to parole him after just three years and five months.

Lee is going to get a break anyway. He was sentenced before 1996 -- the year the Palmetto State's law requiring inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their time took effect.

Unfortunately, this means Lee is eligible to knock years off his sentence simply by being a good convict: staying out of trouble, doing his work assignments, continuing his education, etc.

As long as Lee doesn't run afoul of the these old rules, he will be released in early 2000, having served just a little more than half his sentence. To set him free any earlier would be unconscionable.