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Dying inmate: Convicted murderer, dying from cancer, is granted parole

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A dying inmate who was convicted for the murder of her 73-year-old great aunt was granted permission to leave prison to go to hospice care. The dying inmate is 33-year-old Kristina Fetters and she is currently serving a life sentence at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville. According to a Dec. 2 report from the Des Moines Register, the now cancer-stricken dying inmate was just 14 when she brutally stabbed and killed her elderly aunt.

At the age of 15, Fetters was convicted of first-degree murder and she was sentenced to life behind bars. Fetters was the youngest person in Iowa history to receive a life sentence.

The recent decision by the Iowa Parole Board means that the dying inmate will become the first Iowa inmate serving a life term without possibility of parole to have her sentence changed following a major ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 which made life without parole unconstitutional for juveniles. In Nov. of this year a judge re-sentenced the dying inmate to make parole an option.

The Iowa Parole Board discussed the decision to release the dying inmate Tuesday morning. The mother of the dying inmate, Denise Fetters, told reporters that she would be by her daughter's side to await the outcome.

“She needs a momma’s support and prayers, so that’s where I’m going to be.”

The board approved compassionate release parole to a hospice facility for Fetters. Reuters via Yahoo! reports that the decision requires that the dying inmate be moved to a hospice where she will remain unless and until her medical condition changes, said Fred Scaletta, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Corrections.

She will be under "intense supervision, including regular contact from a parole officer," Scaletta explained.

"The parole board always looks at public safety. Considering her medical condition, she is not really a threat to public safety," he said.

In Sept. of this year, the dying inmate was diagnosed with Stage 4 inoperable breast cancer. She can no longer walk and is supported by inmates in the hospice wing of the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women.

Fetters was in an Iowa City hospital on Monday after experiencing heavy pain over the weekend according to her mother. A group of supporters over the weekend visited the Mitchellville prison where they displayed signs supporting release of the dying inmate.

What do you think of the decision to release the dying inmate to hospice care? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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