The following articles and comments are provided for your consideration.  We encourage you to express your outrage at the thought of parole for Ricky Carter!

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WFAA Articlex

Website fights to keep drunk driver behind bars - Click here to view story

By JIM DOUGLAS / WFAA-TV

WFAA's Jim Douglas reporting in September, 2012

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Dallas Morning News Article

Web campaign targets parole bid

07:25 AM CDT on Friday, August 19, 2005

By DAVE MICHAELS / The Dallas Morning News

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Fort Worth Star Telegram Article

A journey through grief

Sunday, December 18, 2005

For the families of four Brock teens, the devastation caused by a drunken driver didn't end with their daughters' deaths

By Melody McDonald
(Star-Telegram Staff Writer)

BROCK -- It's been seven years since Rickey Carter got drunk, drove his pickup the wrong way down Ranger Highway, and slammed into a car carrying four of Brock's brightest teens.

Staci Lee and Whitney Welch, both 16, died instantly. Mandi McWhorter, 15, lived for 11 more hours. Lacey Osina, 17, lost her fight three days later.

The wreck devastated this farming community 35 miles west of Fort Worth, sent Carter to prison and left four sets of parents with only memories of their daughters.

The pain was unbearable. Some parents turned to God and family. One mother turned to drugs.

Three marriages have dissolved.

Only one father doesn't hurt anymore. He is buried next to his little girl in a Millsap cemetery.

During the past year, the parents talked about what their lives have been like since their daughters' deaths, about dealing with their grief, about their thoughts of the man who stole it all.

Some believe the tragedy has made them stronger. They have learned to live again. Others are still struggling.

Their stories are vastly different.

Their pain is the same.

The wreck

Staci, Whitney, Mandi and Lacey were seemingly perfect daughters.

All were beautiful girls, top students and athletes with strong morals and a deep faith in God.

"They were always together," said Doug McWhorter, Mandi's dad.

Dec. 19, 1998, was no exception. It was the first day of Christmas break, a carefree Saturday night for the foursome.

After returning home from winning a basketball game against Graford, the girls drove to nearby Weatherford to eat at Taco Bueno.

The plan was to go back to McWhorter's home, sit in the hot tub and watch Christmas movies.

Rickey Carter, driving home from a deer lease in Erath County, changed all that.

It was about 11 p.m. when the girls turned their car west onto Spur 312, also known as Ranger Highway, and headed for home.

Officials have said Staci, who was driving Whitney's Nissan Maxima, attempted to avoid Carter's pickup by pulling onto the shoulder when he swerved into her lane. It wasn't enough.

A carload of friends following the girls drove up on the crash immediately after it happened. They approached the mangled Maxima, called out the names of the four girls and desperately tried to open the car's door. The girls were motionless inside.

Lacey's parents were at home watching television when her father got the call from one of Lacey's friends.

"I told Liz, 'Lets go, there has been a wreck,'" Mark Osina recalled.

Lacey's mother said when they got in the car, her husband didn't say anything about where or how bad the wreck was.

"We got to the highway, I-20, and he just started saying Our Father and Hail Mary over and over again," Liz Osina said, crying. "He kept repeating it. I kept saying, 'What are you doing? Why are you saying that? Tell me what is going on.'"

When the Osinas got close to the crash site, they saw nothing but a sea of flashing lights from emergency vehicles.

"The first thing that went through my mind was, 'Oh no, something has happened up there. We're going to have to go a different way to get to the girls,'" Liz Osina recalled. "It never once crossed my mind that that was the wreck."

Staci's mother and father were in their car when they received a call from another parent. They raced to the scene.

When a sheriff's deputy told them they couldn't get any closer to the wreckage, Staci's mother jumped out of the car and made a run for it. Her husband threw the car into park and also ran to the wreckage.

"There was nothing left but the driver's seat," said Vicki Cole, Staci's mother. "There was a white sheet over it."

Officials directed the girls' parents, most of whom had arrived at the scene, to Campbell Memorial Hospital in Weatherford.

Cole said she watched as one of the girls was brought in by ambulance.

"I ran in and Lezlie, Mandi's mother, was running beside me," Cole said. "I said, 'It's Staci.' She said, 'No, it's not. It's Mandi.' I had to look at her toes to recognize it wasn't Staci. That is how bad she was."

Cole was told to wait in the emergency room.

"People were coming in and telling me that my daughter was dead," Cole said, starting to cry. "They were staring at me real funny, you know. The first thing you do is start praying and bargaining with God. You just think, there is no way this could be happening. She is too young."

Finally, Cole said, her worst fears were confirmed.

Staci, her only child, was not coming to the hospital.

Neither was Whitney.

They were on the way to the Tarrant County morgue.

At the hospital

Lacey and Mandi, the two surviving girls, were quickly transported from Campbell to Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital.

"I remember holding her hand the whole night, talking to her and kissing her on the cheek," said Lezlie Michael, Mandi's mother. "... There was a blood spot on her cheek in the shape of a heart. I'll never forget that.

"That is where I kept kissing her."

Mandi's father remembers begging the doctor.

"I said, 'I don't care how much it costs, I don't care how long we have to be here. I just want y'all to save my daughter's life,'" Doug McWhorter said. "At that point, he told us that he needed to be truthful and honest with me. He said that they did not think that Mandi would leave the unit alive."

On Dec. 20 -- roughly 11 hours after the wreck -- Mandi's mother, father and 12-year-old brother, Ryan, told her goodbye.

"We told her that we loved her and that we understood, and that when she got ready to go home, she could -- that we would be OK," Doug McWhorter said. "I watched my daughter take her last breath. She died at 10 o'clock that morning."

Mandi's mother said an indescribable amount of peace came over her.

"I felt like it was a glimpse of heaven," she said. "A glimpse of her new life."

Lacey, meanwhile, was on a different floor of the hospital.

Doctors initially told her family that she had a chance. After emergency surgery to repair internal injuries, doctors told them they needed to worry about her head injury.

Forty-eight hours later, hospital officials began talking to the family about organ donation.

Her mother and father knew what to do. When Lacey turned 16 and got her driver's license, she had already told her mother that she wished to be a donor.

"I think maybe God took care of that early for us," her mother, Liz Osina, said.

On the morning of Dec. 22, Lacey's mother lay on one side of her, while her younger sister, 14-year-old Emily, lay on the other.

The Osinas then said their goodbyes.

Mark Osina said he finally had to drag his wife and daughter away from Lacey's bedside. Mark Osina's brother drove the family home.

"It was the worst feeling of my life," Mark Osina said.

The grieving begins

During the week of Christmas, four funerals were held in Brock.

Only 80 people lived in the rural Parker County town, but hundreds attended the funerals.

Staci and Whitney were buried on Dec. 22. Mandi and Lacey were laid to rest the day after Christmas.

In a span of a few days, Brock High School lost three basketball players, half of its cheerleading squad, two homecoming queens and four honor students.

"I was just numb," said Pax Welch, Whitney's mother. "It is all you can do just to get up. I just prayed to God to hold my heart in his hands because it was about to fall out of my body."

Mandi's mother said she left her daughter's room the same way for a long time, including the backpack Mandi had dropped on the floor after her basketball game.

"Just being in the house after everybody had gone and going through the things in her room and bathroom, that's when it all hit," she said. "She wasn't coming back."

Lacey's mother said that after they returned home from the hospital she went into Lacey's room and ran her hand across a biology notebook on her bed "so I could feel her handwriting."

Staci's mother, meanwhile, couldn't eat or sleep. She chain-smoked and began relying on painkillers she had been prescribed after an earlier car wreck.

"I went through a carton of cigarettes a day," Vickie Cole said. "It was terrible. I was popping pills and going through cigarettes, crying the whole time. It hurt to get up, to breathe."

The fathers also were dealing with their grief in their own ways.

The day after Lacey's funeral, Mark Osina went back to work as the men's basketball coach at Weatherford College, a job he still has today.

"The president came and said we can get someone to take my place for a while," Mark Osina recalled. "I told him I wanted to keep doing what I was doing. ... As long as I could stay in the gym and didn't have to go around and listen and talk to people, I would rather just ride it out right here."

Mandi's father turned to God.

"I just asked God what he wanted me to do," Doug McWhorter said.

Staci's father, David Lee, found God.

On the day after Staci's funeral, Lee said, he stopped by the home of the pastor who had presided over her service to bring him doughnuts. He found Carey Killough and his family praying.

It was icy that day, and Killough's children were having car trouble in Brownwood, Lee said. The pastor had never spent Christmas without his children and was praying for a way to get them home safely.

Lee said he offered to drive him the next day, Christmas Eve, in Staci's truck.

"As we were driving along, we got to Morgan Mill, a real pretty area on [U.S.] 281, and he asked me what my plans were now," Lee recalled. "I said, 'Well, I'd like to get to heaven to see Staci.' He said, 'Well, we can take care of that right now.'"

That day, in the car with Killough, Lee became a Christian.

Tough times

The year following the girls' deaths was the hardest.

"All four of them were cheerleaders," said Mandi's mother, Lezlie Michael. "You had eight cheerleaders on the court and, after you come back [from Christmas break], there are only four."

Brock's basketball teams wore ribbons in their hair with the girls' names on them or uniform patches with the girls' numbers: 4 for Mandi, 10 for Lacey, 11 for Staci and a W for Whitney, who didn't play
basketball.

"It was during basketball season and, in Brock, basketball is such a huge thing," Michael said. "The basketball team wanted to win every game for those girls."

It didn't help that families were grieving under a spotlight. Reporters and photographers were everywhere, especially basketball games.

Lacey's sister, Emily, a freshman at the time, was a starter for the Lady Eagles.

Reporters migrated to her and, in many cases, made the story about her wanting to carry on her sister's legacy, rather than about the team's success. She said she experienced a backlash from friends and teammates. People accused her of using her sister's death to get attention.

"I got a lot of attention, attention I didn't want," she said. "I remember telling people, 'Do you actually think that I want an article in the paper about my sister dying? Do you think I actually asked for that?'"

She said it wasn't much better in the classroom.

"Every time I cried in class or something, I realized it was a mistake because people started saying, 'She is just crying for attention,'" she said.

Lacey's mother said she herself was dysfunctional by then. Not only was Lacey dead, but Liz Osina felt like Emily was being treated cruelly.

She tried to go back to work as the Brock Elementary School principal, but she couldn't.

"I just felt like I couldn't give the children what they needed," she said. "I took a leave of absence."

She said she later moved over to the administration building to assist the superintendent. But work was the furthest thing from her mind.

"Twice during lunch they had to come and get me because I was stuck in the mud at the cemetery," she said.

On the first anniversary of the girls' deaths, Liz Osina said, she was supposed to go to the elementary school to collect ornaments the students had made for her. The year before, her husband, in his anger and grief over Lacey's death, had thrown out the tree, ornaments and all.

"I just couldn't make myself go up there," she recalled.

So, she said, someone dumped the ornaments on the floor of her den and left a note on top of it, "telling me I need to get over this and worry about the children that love you."

"If I can tell anybody anything, it would be that you can't judge or tell someone how to grieve," said Liz Osina, who eventually resigned from the district. "No two people grieve alike. It doesn't get better. You learn to live with it and that's it. At least that is the way it has been for me."

A difficult trial

Two years after the wreck, Carter's case was scheduled for trial.

It wasn't without controversy.

District Attorney Don Schnebly and defense attorney Jerry Loftin had brokered a plea deal that divided the families and, in many ways, the community.

In exchange for Carter's guilty plea on four charges of intoxication manslaughter, prosecutors agreed that one jury -- instead of four -- would assess Carter's punishment for the girls' deaths, and the sentences
would run concurrently. So, instead of facing 80 years in prison, Carter faced a maximum of 20.

Both sides agreed to allow the victims' families to give narrative presentations to the jury, which included showing videotapes and photo albums, even playing songs written about the girls -- evidence that normally wouldn't be allowed during a trial.

Typically, families are not permitted to address the defendant or speak about how a crime has affected them until after sentencing.

"I would be surprised if anything like that happens in my career again," said prosecutor Jeff Swain, who tried the case with Schnebly. "It resembled a memorial service more than a trial."

Mandi's and Whitney's parents were satisfied with the plea bargain agreement; Staci's and Lacey's were opposed to it and felt that Schnebly had sold them out.

They were not alone. On the day jury selection began, dozens of people demonstrated outside the Parker County courthouse in Weatherford. Some carried signs calling for Schnebly's resignation.

"I think the biggest reason the public reacted was because we couldn't discuss the plea agreement until it went through court ... for fear of impacting jurors before it goes to trial," Swain said. "People heard 'plea agreement' and got really mad. But we put it in the jury's hands and ended up getting the maximum sentence we could get."

Swain said trying Carter on each case would have taken years, would have been extremely difficult for the families and likely would have meant a change of venue. Even then, there would be no guarantees that the judge would impose consecutive sentences.

Carter didn't even have a speeding ticket on his record and was eligible for probation, Swain said. The prosecutors' best course of action was to allow jurors to see the impact that Carter had on all the girls and their families at the same time and hope for the maximum.

Defense attorney Loftin called Carter "as good a citizen as there ever was." He pointed out that Carter took minority children whose parents were drug addicts into his home, and he supported the schools and the community. Many people, from police officers to church members, supported him during his trial, he said.

"His life was shattered and destroyed," Loftin said. "He was suicidal over the matter."

Mandi's mother said the trial was an extremely difficult for everyone, including Carter's family.

"I remember at one point during the trial, on one side you had all of us grieving, and then on their side they were grieving, too," she said. "I had to leave the courtroom. There was too much hurt in that room."

Falling apart

By the time the trial was over, three out of the four marriages were unraveling.

"We didn't know how to handle it," Staci's mother, Vickie Cole, said. "Me and David couldn't even look at each other without crying for four months."

Cole, who acknowledged she became more dependent on drugs, said her husband stayed upstairs and she stayed downstairs. By the time the trial came around, the couple were already separated.

Finally, after 18 years of marriage, they divorced.

Lezlie and Doug McWhorter's marriage was suffering, too.

"When you lose a child, it is just so painful," Mandi's mother said. "We never, ever, ever blamed each other. We went through a lot together.

"I think our marriage got stronger, initially, because we needed each other. Then we just got to a place where we became different people through our grief. We grieved differently. Instead of grieving together, we grieved apart."

Whitney's parents, Pax and Greg Welch, divorced in 2003 on friendly terms. Pax Welch said they were better suited as friends.

"Out of respect for Whitney, we felt like we needed to get along," Pax Welch said. "We had another child, Lance, and that was the most important thing for both of us."

The next year, Greg Welch, a cutting-horse trainer who is in the National Cutting Horse Association Riders Hall of Fame, died of cancer. He is buried next to his daughter at the Fairview Cemetery in Millsap.

Mandi's father recalled the day he stopped by the hospital to see Greg Welch.

"He told me, 'I'm ready to go to heaven and cut with my daughter,'" Doug McWhorter said.

Lacey's parents are the only ones still married today.

"I'm sure there are times we could each tell you that we wanted to get in the car and put it in drive and point it anywhere," Liz Osina said. "I know the thought has been in all of our minds. The easiest thing would be to do that."

She said their love is strong, even in times of weakness.

"It was always just the four of us and, in the blink of an eye, there were three of us," she said. "We had to find ourselves; we had no idea who we were."

Moving on

Lacey, Mandi and Staci are buried side-by-side in the Brock cemetery. A marble statue representing Whitney stands next to their graves.

There is a tall lantern that Mandi's father, who lives nearby, keeps lit.

Lacey's father still mows the grass there once a week.

School officials and the families created the Brock Memorial Scholarship in memory of the girls. Each year, a Brock High School graduate is awarded $1,000 a semester for four years.

The parents also helped lobby the Texas Legislature to reduce the blood alcohol level that legally defines a driver as intoxicated from .10 to .08.

Officials said Carter's blood alcohol level at the time of the wreck was measured at .16, but his defense attorney has said another test showed it at .12.

Mandi's father runs an alcohol awareness program called Eagle Wings to Angel Wings, a way to keep the girls' memories alive and educate teens about the choices they make.

He has spoken to thousands of students at hundreds of schools and feels the girls are making a difference in young people's lives.

"It has nothing to do with me," Doug McWhorter said. "It has to do with the four girls and their testimony to those kids. I'm just the guy that puts it on."

Today, McWhorter, a land man for Devon Energy Production Company, is remarried and lives in Brock with his wife, Sharon. He has a 16-year-old stepdaughter, Nicole Bynum.

"I thank God everyday for sending a daughter into my life," Doug McWhorter said. "I tell her, 'You will never take Mandi's place, but you are my daughter.' "

Mandi's brother, Ryan, is now 19 and plays drums in a band called Valeyra.

Mandi's mother, an administrator for a nursing home, is remarried and lives in Benbrook with her husband, Jim. She, also, has a teen-age stepdaughter, Johnnye Michael, 14.

She, along with her ex-husband and Staci's father, are among those who have forgiven Rickey Carter.

"I remember the very day that I did," she said. "It was a huge, huge relief for me, like a thousand pounds had been lifted off. ... I had to forgive him honestly and truthfully and wholeheartedly before I could heal and move on and have a halfway decent life."

Staci's mother, Vickie Cole, can't find forgiveness in her heart -- and told Carter as much during his trial.

"I walked right up to him and said, 'You know, I'll never forgive you for what you have done.'"

Cole, who was interviewed in the spring, has spent time in jail on drug charges since her daughter's death.

After the trial, she became convinced that there was a cover-up and has a conspiracy theory that she believes to this day.

She is convinced that boys in two other cars were racing the girls at the time of the crash. She believes that the drivers took off and, to protect the boys, officers tampered with the crime scene by moving the wrecked car.

Officials and the other families do not share her suspicions.

"The investigation didn't reveal that anyone other than Rickey Carter was the cause of this wreck," prosecutor Swain said.

Staci's father, David Lee, is co-owner of Apache's Choppers, a high-end motorcycle shop in Weatherford. He recently remarried and lives in Brock with his wife, Nikki, and her 9-year-old son, Aaron.

He feels confident that he will get to heaven to be with his daughter someday.

"I may not be the best Christian," Lee said, "but he still takes us all anyway."

Lacey's parents, the Osinas, live in Weatherford and work at Weatherford College. Their daughter Emily, who played basketball for Weatherford College and the University of New Orleans, recently moved home and is finishing up her college credits at Tarleton State University. She plans to graduate in May.

The Osinas, who also have not forgiven Carter, have been giving some thought lately to trying to contact the man who received Lacey's heart.

"For seven years, I really wasn't prepared, mentally or emotionally," Liz Osina said. "But it would be nice to meet him."

Pax Welch is a flight attendant who spends a great deal of time traveling. Her son, Lance, lives in Las Vegas and recently passed the bar exam.

Whitney is never far from her thoughts.

"The greatest gift in life was to be her mother," Pax Welch said.

The families don't keep in contact as much as they used to, but they know they will forever be united by a drunken-driving wreck that stole their daughters on a carefree Saturday night, the first day of Christmas break.

"Your heart aches for them everyday," Pax Welch said. "Not a day goes by that you don't think about it and wish it wasn't so."

THE FAMILY OF LACEY OSINA

Of all the crash victims' parents, Mark and Liz Osina, shown with their daughter Emily, are the only couple still married. They have not forgiven Rickey Carter and hope that he will serve every day of his 20-year sentence.

THE FAMILY OF MANDI McWHORTER

Mandi's parents divorced in the years following her death, and both have remarried. Doug McWhorter, shown at the gravesite of three of the girls, above, gives alcohol-awareness presentations at schools. Lezlie Michael, a nursing-home administrator, is shown with her husband, Jim, and her son, Ryan, 19. Both of Mandi's parents have forgiven Rickey Carter.

THE FAMILY OF WHITNEY WELCH

Whitney's parents, Greg and Pax Welch, divorced in 2003 but remained good friends. Greg Welch died of cancer the next year and is buried next to his daughter in Millsap. In Brock, a marble statue, representing Whitney stands next to the graves of Staci, Mandi and Lacey, left.

THE FAMILY OF STACI LEE

Staci's parents separated shortly after her death and later divorced, after 18 years of marriage. David Lee, shown on Page 1A, is remarried and has forgiven Rickey Carter. Vickie Cole has not.

RICKEY CARTER

Rickey Carter, 47, pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and is serving his 20-year sentence in a Gatesville prison. He has been up for parole twice, and twice he has been denied. He will now be up for parole each year until he is released.

This year, Janelle Shepard, a nurse at Harris Methodist Fort Worth hospital, created a Web site, www.keeprickycarterinjail.com. It's a way for the community to express its opinions to the parole board about Carter's release. "It was amazing," said Lacey's mother, Liz Osina. "Her premise was, 'They don't have to go through this every year alone. As a community, we need to support them.'"
 

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Subject: As a Juror and as a Mother - Please HELP 

~ STAY IN JAIL - PROTECT MY CHILDREN ~ 

I did not know any of these victims personally. I can not express to anyone how this trial made me feel. I was in the courtroom everyday of this trial. I heard every word, every plea, every cry, as well as my own. This still feels like a knife in my heart, every time I hear or think about this! What is 5 years, NOTHING, to what all these families had to give up! Those girls had such great futures ahead of them, big plans! That didn't get to experience everything that they got cheated of. Ricky did a HORRIBLE CRIME, that he will never be able to repay back to these families. WHY should he get a second chance? Why should that question even come UP??? Those girls did not get a second chance or a choice for a second chance!!! So why the one that committed this life effecting CRIME be able to get a second chance? He has lived 2x as long as any of those girls got a chance too! Whether or not this man has ever been in trouble with law or not - why does that should not matter??? He ! still is an adult and KNOWS that you are not supposed to DRINK and DRIVE! We NEED to STOP DRINKING and DRIVING it hurts SO MUCH more to lose someone for LIFE because of a drunk, and than it does to sit in PRISON for drinking and driving, that killed 4 beautiful CHILDREN! Those girls can not be replaced but those is no way RICKY CARTER deserves to be slapped on the hand and get a second chance! WHAT does that say to other drunk drivers? 

PLEASE protect the rest of the world's children that deserve to LIVE!!!!!! Ricky Carter DID the CRIME now he needs to pay the CONSEQUENCES!!!!!!!! 

PLEASE TAKE this into CONSIDERATION - our kids - those girls - and the future impact of all of this! 

Patsy Crevier

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If Ricky Carter goes free, he will have:

1.  Exchanged 15 months of his freedom for the life of Mandi McWhorter.

2.  Exchanged 15 months of his freedom for the life of Whitney Welch.

3.  Exchanged 15 months of his freedom for the life of Staci Lee.

4.  Exchanged 15 months of his freedom for the life of Lacey Osina.

Is that all each of these precious gifts from God was worth? 

When will justice really be served?

Will it be when these four mothers stop crying themselves to sleep each night?  Will it be when these fathers can finally remove the tear stained photos of "Daddy's Girl" from their wallets? How many years of Ricky Carter's life would be a reasonable exchange for the life of even one of these precious young ladies?

How could any reasonable person possibly believe justice would be served by granting this killer a life of freedom; the priceless gift he stole from each of his four innocent victims?

Please take time to write the Victim Services Division and express your outrage at the very thought of parole for this killer!

Lenny Leatherman
Weatherford, Texas
 

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Thank you for the marvelous testimony of families about their losses.  I have never forgotten what this man did and brought a rail to "ride Schnebly out of town" when he took this man to trial without all four families.  I will make my voice heard regarding any consideration of parole!!

 

Nickie Allen
Weatherford, TX

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I am sending my letter immediately.  I know this will not replace your hurt, but maybe it will be successful in helping to keep those with not regard of other with their drunk driving off the streets indefinitely.  You will continue to have my support in this major effort to keep someone else from suffering what you have. 

Jo Sneed 

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I remember very well when this happened. It was all over the news in the metroplex. To go back and read the biographies of each girl is just heartbreaking.  I will send a letter, but in the meantime, I cannot imagine what the families must be going through. God bless and keep you all.

Sincerely,
 

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x

92.1 FM website  
 

CAMPAIGN TO KEEP DRUNK DRIVER IN JAIL
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 by countrynews

Parker County residents start a grass roots campaign to keep a deadly drunk driver in jail.

In 2000, 42 year old Rickey Carter of Fort Worth plead guilty to 4 counts of intoxication manslaughter in connection with the December 1998 deaths of four teenage girls from Brock. Less than five years into his 20 year sentence, Carter is now up for parole and many who remember the tragedy are outraged. The girls were on their way home from a trip into Weatherford when Carter hit them head-on on Ranger Highway, killing all four of the popular Brock High School students. At the time of the accident, Carter’s blood alcohol level was a .16.

As a result of the drunken driving accident, the girl’s parents were instrumental in getting the state legislature to lower the legal limit to .08. Now they are working to keep their children’s killer in prison through a website called KeepRickeyCarterInJail.com. Visitors to the website are asked to contact the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to express their opposition for Carter’s release. Carter was placed on parole review last month. This is his second attempt at parole, his first was denied.

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This man can never know the hurt and devastation he has created.  To release Ricky Carter from jail only five years later is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard.  The day he took these lives from us should have been the beginning of his life in prison.  No matter how "good" his behavior has been, he chose to get behind the wheel of that truck and take Staci, Mandi, Whitney and Laci away from us all.   We didn't get to chose whether they lived or died and Ricky should not be able to chose his fate based on good behavior.  Please make him serve his time, at least for the girls!


 

Holly Henry

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I just heard of your website and  your need for citizens to contact the parole board on fox 4 news.  I will fax my letter of protest in the morning on behalf of the families and the four beautiful, talented, good, innocent girls who met the ultimate tragedy because a man, who according to his people, is a good person who had no prior incidents in his past, thought that his need for alcohol was more important than
their need to graduate high school, go to college, get married, give birth, and become valuable contributing members of society.  The fact that he has no prior bad behavior is merely due to the fact that he was never caught before.  I will never believe that this was the first time he decided to drink and drive home.  I am positive it was a frequent occurrence.  It is just such a tragedy that the four beautiful girls were in his path at that time.  It is high time that we, as the people of the United States of America, stand up and say we will no longer tolerate people who go out and drink and then drive home.  These
offenders need to have the book thrown at them and to serve the maximum amount of time in  jail to show others who think they can follow the same conduct and get away with it.  I will follow this case and will fax in my letter every time this criminal comes up for parole.  Bless you all and continue to fight the good fight.

Jayne in Keller

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I am outraged at the prospect of Ricky Carter being paroled so soon after murdering these four beautiful young ladies in Brock, TX.  I am in the process of composing my letter to Raven Kazen and will fax it in the morning.

I want to quickly express my sympathies to the families of these young ladies and I will do everything in my power to keep Ricky Carter in jail for his entire sentence.  While it will not  bring back these young ladies, hopefully it will send a very important message to anyone else who decides to drink and get behind the wheel.

 
Sincerely,
Sandra Hanes
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I composed my letter to the parole board and will send it off first thing in the morning.  I spoke from my heart and I hope that in some small way this will help keep the convicted murderer in jail for as long as possible.  I pray for the full 20 years.
 
My prayers are with the families, friends and the community.  May God be with each and every one!
 

Lorinda Mitchell
"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path."  

                                                                                                 Proverbs 3:6

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Oh my goodness! How could it be possible that this man would be released!!!  It is bad enough that we have to worry about our children putting themselves in compromising positions, and now we have to worry that the worst fate awaits them from an ADULT who should be looking out for our children, not wallowing in his own inability to behave responsibly.  This man deserves nothing less than the maximum sentence for murder.  These children were completely innocent.  To allow this man to walk the streets is an atrocious travesty of justice.  He should not be released for a long time, long after he has had a chance to understand the breadth of his mistakes.  When will we draw the line that will stop senseless murder by one of the most afflicted members of our society today---the alcoholic.?  This is an example that only encourages our young people to find excuses, lawyers, whatever...to excuse behavior that is not only unacceptable but dangerous to others. I encourage you to seriously reconsider your decision to release this man from his sentence to repay for the deaths of several innocent teenage girls.

 
Thank you,
 Danya Sears

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Why does it always happen that the criminal has more rights than the victims, and in this case they are dead. My sons brother in law was killed 2 years ago he was 17 and a drunk driver just got his hand spanked. My sister was almost killed and the drunk driver just got out of the pen. I witnessed the accident; I was 10 and she was 5 years old.  I'm 53 and still see her flying in the air. I have night mares. Thank God she wasn't killed, but has permanent damage. Her skull was crushed in. This is why we should keep Ricky Carter in jail.

Sincerely,

Marsha Beatty

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Rickey Carter murdered these four Beautiful Young Ladies just as surely as if he had used a Firearm. Now we are told he is eligible for parole. By what right does a man who murdered four people deserve release just because "I wuz drunk". I am fed up with drunks and lawyers using a bottle of booze to justify behavior that could bring them the death penalty under different circumstances. I hope he spends every day of his sentence. behind bars.

 
Respectfully:
 
Jack Caudill
Weatherford TX 76086
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Here is a copy of the letter I am sending to the parole board after seeing coverage of your efforts on Channel 8 news Monday 8/8/05 and visitation your web site.  I pray for the families and friends of those four beautiful young ladies taken from this world by a drunk driver.  There is no excuse and should be no easy way out for the person responsible for such great pain.  There is nothing we can do to return the four young friends to this world but hopefully our letters can keep Ricky Carter where he belongs, in jail.  I am so tired of the innocent paying for the actions of the guilty. Thank you for the opportunity and means to make a difference.  May God keep you in His care.  Through Him all things are possible. Making the law work for the law abiding is possible too.  I will put the letter in the mail first thing Tuesday morning.  It is already stamped, addressed and ready to go.  Good luck to you in your efforts to keep Ricky Carter in jail.  As my letter states, he did the crime, let him do the time.  Now that's justice. 

 
Sincerely,
Josie Richardson 

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I am appalled that they would even consider letting this animal out of jail. I feel like people who drive drunk are the scum of the earth. They are thinking of no one but themselves. So why should we think about them. I'd much rather think about the victims and how unfair it is that their lives are ended tragically way too soon. 

If he is let out of jail after serving only five years, you might as well get ready to bury someone else's teenager because he has not learned his lesson. It's a shame that most people who drive drunk and have fatal accidents tend to live yet their victims don't. 

I really hate to think of another individual this way, but I'm tired of the nonsense. I have a 15 year old son so I really sympathize with the parents of the victims' families. Carter and others can not be allowed to walk the streets because they are killing our future. 


Beverly M. Green

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No one can understand the pain and suffering that a family experiences when they have a beautiful teenager suddenly snatched from life, especially in such a senseless way by a careless drunk driver. My heart goes out to these families and I will write letters and send e-mails for as long as it takes to keep this piece of worthless humanity behind bars! 

Rebecca Mitchell
Plano, TX

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Subject: My letter

Nellie,
 
I sent the WFAA link along with the website link to everyone in my address book.  Hope it generates some more responses.  Here is my  letter.  

Love you, 
Ladelle

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Subject: Do Not Parole Ricky Carter 

Please, oh, please consider the ramifications of paroling this offender. What a message - One Life One Year is what he will have served for killing the four teenage girls. As a citizen, as a parent, I urge the Board to not parole Ricky Carter until he has served his imposed sentence. 

All my appreciation for your serious consideration - 

Kathy McDaniel

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I attended a presentation in high school regarding this incident, and it was then and there that I became so strongly against drinking and driving.  I did not know these girls or their families, but they have a permanent place in my heart.  Letting this man out is a gross injustice to all of them.  I have attached my letter as well, I hope it will do some good.

SGT Benjamin L Ralston
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I am deeply sorry and left heavy hearted after reading about these beautiful young girls. I know the fight you are going thru as I go thru it every year when Charlie Knoerr comes up for his yearly parole review.

I too will write a letter to Raven at the TDCJ Parole board. I will keep all the families in my thoughts and prayers!

Best wishes and GOD BLESS,

Jennie Murphy-McIntosh

My website "Another Victim Of A Drunk Driver" at --
http://a10jennielynn.tripod.com

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I don't even know how to express my feeling about this. Because my daughter who is 20 years old and her fiancée were in an auto accident in January of this year and it was not alcohol related. But the first person on scene to render aid was Doug McWhorter. My daughter's fiancée Greg calls Doug the angel in the black cowboy hat. Greg was pinned in the front seat and my daughter Shannell was in the back seat unconscious and barely breathing, blood running from her head. Doug calmed Greg enough to get him to quit screaming and then crawled in the back and lifted Shannell's head off the seat hoping to help her breath better, he tried to stop the bleeding, Doug stayed there helping and talking to her until the paramedics took her away. Then he came to Harris Trauma ICU to tell me all he could about what happened while he was on the scene. He told me I just wanted to tell you every thing I could because I know how you feel. I called him an angel and he said no I just wanted to help your baby. Nobody could help mine. Well after 7 months in the hospital Shannell is home and I truly believe if Doug had not been able to put his pain aside that day to help her she would not be here. Just think how much it must have brought back to this man, and now for Ricky Carter to stand a chance at getting out of Jail is unthinkable. Every one in my family will send a letter to the parole Board. Doug McWhorter you are an angel and I truly believe you were the first person that had a hand in Gods miracle of saving Shannell.

Pam Davis
Springtown, Texas

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Four months after the crash that killed Mandi, Whitney, Staci, and Lacey, there was another in Kill Devil Hills, NC, that killed Amanda, Megan, Shana, and Angie.  I don't remember how we connected, but for awhile I was in touch with Lezlie, and then, after their trial, the connection faded.

I have often wondered how they were doing, but when the Eagle Wings to Angel Wings web page disappeared, I couldn¹t find them any more.  I was horrified to find the news report that Carter is up for parole!!!!  There is such an unbelievable inequity in sentencing in this country.  The driver in our case received 60 - 74 years, with no chance for parole.  There is a very active support group opposing that sentence.  (We are NOT part of it!)   Somewhere, there has to be some common sense, and sensitivity, in sentencing.

Thank you for what you are doing.  I will definitely add my letter in support.

Sincerely,
Marilyn Geiger

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To the Families of Mandi McWhorter, Witney Welch, Staci Lee, and Lacey Osina
 
I am enclosing a copy of my letter to the Parole Board.  My prayers are with you all and I pray that we will succeed in keeping this monster in jail.
 
Sincerely,
Cynthia Capehart
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I'm a 24 year old girl who is a local.  In 1998 I was the same age as Lacey.  We actually went to school together  and just thinking about the pain these girl's families are going through just upsets me.  It is not fair what they are going through. These girls had a full life to live and that was taken away by a man who is irresponsible.  His selfishness cost four young girls their lives.  Ricky deserves to have his life taken away.  What right does he have to not be punished for hurting these girls and their families.  I pray that justice will be served!!!

God be with all the families,
Andrea Lewis 

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I did not know any of the beautiful young women that Ricky Carter destroyed.  But I am very sorry for what he has put those four families through.  I cannot even imagine what they are living with each and every day.  If Ricky Carter is released and allowed to continue as an "outstanding citizen" as his lawyer says he was, can you imagine what those families will go through if they see him in the grocery store, post office, driving down the street?  I have a 14 year old son that will start driving soon and I know I cannot protect him from everyone or everything, but if we can keep someone like Ricky Carter off the streets I know it will make me feel a little a safer.  He killed four young lives.  I want him kept away from the other young people of Parker County!!!!

 
Thank you,
Audrey McClure
Weatherford, Texas

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I ask that this man not be released back to any street to once again be a danger in our county.  This man devastated 4 families and an entire county of friends and families.  He does not belong back in the public and is certainly no longer welcome back to our county.

Thank you,

Martha Decker
Peaster/Weatherford communities.

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Keep him in jail!!!  He does not deserve to be released.  He took four lives in one single night!!  He should be given life sentence instead!!
 
Fernando Rubio
Mineral Wells, Texas

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When a jury sentences someone to 20 yrs in prison, keep them 20 yrs in prison.
This man should serve the entire sentence.
Kent L. Talbot
Azle, Texas
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My name is Lanaya Walter.  I have followed your story from the time it first happened.  At the time I could not imagine the pain and loss that you and all the other families felt.  Until December 25, 2001.  My brother was killed in Weatherford by the Jack in the Box by Robert Ray Smith, a multi time offender of drunk driving.  It was a night that changed my life forever.  I know the struggle that you and all the other families face every morning when you wake up and every night when you close your eyes.  I know what it is like to look into the faces of your loved ones and see the pain that is ever so evident in their eyes.  I also know the uphill battle that exists with trying to keep the one that caused all of this behind bars.  Robert Smith was sentenced to 18 years for murdering Jason.  We were told then that he would only end up having to serve 7 to 9 years of his sentence.  I know what it is like to go to the curb and open your mailbox to find a letter from the parole board every year telling you that the animal who killed is going up for parole.  It is like opening a bomb.  In the beginning all I wanted to do was change the laws, to find a way to make the state of Texas realize that it’s laws were not harsh enough but I guess in a way the part of me that doesn’t want to deal with any of this took over.  I feel like I have disappointed Jason by not pursuing the fight.  It just seemed to become more of a fight with myself than anything else.  Anyways I don’t have to go through all of this.  This is a reality that I know the both of us face everyday.  I am sincere in saying that if there is anything that I can do to help fight this battle, I am all in.  Anything that I can do please just ask.  I know that you have lots of support behind you, I just thought one more would not be a bad thing.  I am all for fight and I sincerely hope that you can make it happen.  I only wish I had the strength and courage to do what you are doing.  Good luck….

You and all the other families are in my thoughts and prayers.

Again, please let me know if there is something that I can do. 

Sincerely,

Lanaya Walter
Mineral Wells, TX 

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Keep him in jail.  It is too easy to just forget what he did to four young lives, just because he wanted to drink all the beer he wanted and didn't care what the outcome would be.  Maybe some teenagers will hear all this and decide not to drink and drive.

Beth Joy.
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As the victim of a repeat drunk-driver offender who was on parole at the time, I have great compassion for those left behind, only to have to go to through the work of grief every time Ricky Carter applies for parole.  I believe that even considering the potential of release is a mockery of the Justice System in the US.

 
Please pass this message along to the families who continue to grieve the loss of four beautiful young women.
 
 W. Jane Young
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I am one of many who believe that Ricky Carter should serve far more if not all of his twenty years sentence.  He killed multiple people, he was certainly not behind the wheel drunk for the first time.  I live next door to a lady who lost her son to a drunk driver, and I've been active with MADD in years past.  There is zero tolerance for drunk driving in my view, even involving a beloved nephew of our's, but when death is a result, there is even less margin for tolerance.  He took these girls' lives, forever, and their families are without these girls' lives forever.  Even if he serves the full twenty years, he still has his life and breathing and loved ones.  The dead girls' families only have photographs and memories of young lives snuffed out due to his total give-a-damn drunk driving.  Please do not allow him an early parole.  Thank you

 
Michael Cox...
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Ricky Carter should be in jail for 200 years, not just 20.  He should be locked up everyday for the remainder of his life, with no possibility for parole.  If he had used a gun or knife, he would be sitting on death row now.  There's no difference here.  Keep him locked up, as long as possible.

Glenda Hammer

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Ricky Carter killed four young ladies while driving drunk.  He should spend all twenty years in prison without the possibility of parole. Five years for each person he killed, is very little time compared to the eternity that the young ladies will spend in their graves. They had no chance to have a life, children, grandchildren, or any of the privileges that life affords to those fortunate enough to live a full life. Ricky should serve the full sentence without any chance of parole.

Thank You,

 
Dave Payne
Cedar Hill, Texas
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My best friend was killed by a drunk driver in 1986 and sent to prison but released after only 1-1/2 years.  Approximately three years later, he killed two more people when he was driving while intoxicated and was sent to prison for ten years.  If he had served out his original sentence of ten years for killing my best friend maybe he wouldn't have killed these other two people.  That is one thing we will never know.

Every time a convicted drunk driver is let out of prison, the same scenario goes through my mind.  In this situation, he not only killed one person - he killed four!  I truly believe that a person makes the choice of driving after drinking and should take the responsibility for their actions - Ricky Carter must take the responsibility for what he did to these young innocent girls and their families.  He shouldn't be given the chance to come back into the world and kill again like the guy did that killed my friend!

Judy Mabry
Dallas, Texas

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I'm writing as a concerned citizen who just read the story in The Dallas Morning News about the web site www.keeprickycarterinjail.com.   In that story, Mr. Jerry Loftin, Mr. Carter's attorney, reminded me that poor Mr. Carter's life has changed as a result of his conviction, and that he was well-liked in his community prior to his killing four people.  Given those facts, it makes sense to allow Mr. Carter to have the same freedoms that I do, regardless of the fact that his intentional bad actions and inactions directly led to the deaths of 4 human beings.  As a matter of fact, Mr. Dennis Rader of BTK fame was also a pillar of his community (as I recall president of his Lutheran church), and his life has certainly changed, too.  Maybe I need to write the folks in Kansas a letter next.

Now without the sarcasm, as a father of a young child with one on the way, I want you to send a message to Mr. Carter and to all of the drunk drivers like him that when you drive drunk and kill someone (let alone four people!) the price is steep.  I have problems with the light sentence that was handed to Mr. Carter originally.  At least you can make him serve all of it - and keep me safer in the process.  And in case you're curious, I'm not an activist - and thankfully have never had drunk driving directly touch my life - unless you count my three days as a juror a couple of years ago.  I'm just a concerned citizen who wants more justice for the victims' families than they've seen.

Derek W. Goff
Collin County father

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Ricky Carter should have received a 20 year sentence for each of the 4 girls he killed and required by law to serve them consecutively to completion. To have only been given one 20 year sentence for the crime and then have the possibility of getting paroled after less than 5 years served is a travesty in itself. I would urge the parole board to deny Ricky Carter from ever receiving any form of leniency, as in the form of a parole.

Alvin Bruce

Dallas, Texas    

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Hi. I read your story in the Dallas Morning News today. It just appalls me how the news is making this guy look like the victim. I am sick to death of "Well, he's never been in trouble before, and he was well liked by his community". Who cares? This person did not care that he got into a car drunk. He's very selfish. He doesn't want to pay for his crime.  It's this atmosphere of "It's not my fault" that's driving this whole thing. No one twisted this jerk's arm to get drunk. And alcoholism is not a "disease". It's high time we get away from the "drunk as the victim" frame of mind. I am so sad for the families that have lost a loved one.  What makes me even sicker is a person can spend more time in prison for killing a dog than a drunk driver will spend killing innocent people.  It's so unfair.  Please keep up the good work, and I hope and pray that Carter does not get out of prison for a very long time.

Darrell D. Martin

Mesquite Texas

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I have little sympathy for drunk drivers. Some may say, "they were drunk they didn't realize what they were doing." There is always a time, a moment even, prior to getting drunk where we have the opportunity to think clearly about the consequences of driving drunk and take precautions so that tragedies such as this don't happen. I'm sure many drunk drivers that cause accidents do feel guilt and remorse, but why didn't they consider the consequences prior to putting themselves and the innocents they harm in danger. I never miss the opportunity to tell people I meet at bars "having a good time" that I had a friend killed by a drunk driver and that driving drunk is inexcusable. I'm sure in those instances I'm considered a real "buzz kill" but hopefully in that moment what I've said will hopefully save
someone's life. It only takes a moment for an accident to happen and I believe that moment occurs not just at the physical moment, but earlier, when the opportunity to make the decision to not drive drunk is ignored, no precautions are taken, no plans made. In that moment the right decision is not made and the subsequent and some would say unconscious decision to be irresponsible and to drive drunk is, setting the stage for an accident to happen. We all need to be conscious of the consequences and think ahead. It only takes a moment for lives to be
changed,  but it also only takes a moment to make a decision that could save lives, that's the moment we all need to live in. A moment for a life is not too much to ask.

Nichole Whittington

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Re:  www.keeprickycarterinjail.com  Thanks go to whoever devised this website.  We need more of these for people to send to their friends so that we can attempt to keep the drunks off our streets as long as possible.  Our 20 year old daughter, Melinda Ann Lee, died on 12-7-94 in Lubbock. She was an honor student at Texas Tech.  She was hit by a drunk driver on 10-14-94 and spent 54 days in ICU before she passed on to a greater life. The drunk that killed her received a 20 year sentence and recently came up for parole after serving 10 years. Over 200 of our friends wrote protest letters and the Parole Board denied his parole request , and we have been told that he will probably not come up for parole for another 5 years. We have sent our protest letter to the Parole Board and our hearts go out to the families of Mandi, Whitney, Staci, and Lacey and all of their friends in Parker County.  This parole consideration only adds to their grief.

 
Don & Patsy Lee
Dallas, TX 75231
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I cannot begin to express my outrage at the thought of this man serving only 6 or 8 years of a measly 20 year sentence for murdering those four beautiful girls.  I have a 20 year old daughter myself, and if her life had been cut short at that age, I don't think I would be here today.  My heart goes out to the parents of these girls! 

Just because he did not have a record of previous driving and drinking history does not mean he had not been doing it!  I don't see the need for any early parole, if fact, I think the man should be given a life sentence.

Not only did I cut out and save the article I read in the Dallas Morning News, I made color copies to distribute to any and all that will let me post them...Dr's offices, small businesses like mine,  convenience stores....wherever they will let me.

I have not written my letter to the parole board as of this time, I plan to do that tomorrow.  But I assure you that as soon as I do I will be sending a copy to this site.  

I have to admit I was not aware of this, until I read the article in Friday's Dallas Morning News.  If I had, I would have taken action much, much sooner!  I live in a small town about a hundred miles NW of Dallas. 

Again, my deepest sympathies to the parents of these beautiful bright young ladies.  I wish you all the best of luck, and will help you any way I can to keep this creep off the streets!

 
Proud to state my name!

Lynda McDowell

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I am so flabbergasted that the criminal justice system would even consider paroling this "man" after such a short time of his sentence has been served.  The destruction this one "person" caused is immeasurable and the families and society were not well-served by a mere 20 years in prison - much less getting out early on parole.  We are not in a position to forgive him, being mere mortals; God may do that.  But we can darn sure do everything within our power to make sure the maximum jail time is served.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of these four beautiful young ladies.  I will do whatever is within my power to assist in assuring Ricky Carter stays in jail for his allotted 20 years.

 
Amanda Dearing
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As I sit here writing this I have tears in my eyes. I remember that Christmas from not so long ago. My son, Bobby, was Mandi’s classmate. He adored those four girls so much. He still can not and will not talk about the wreck or the girls.  I guarantee you that I will send my letter to the Parole Board as well as the rest of my family. We have since moved away from Brock but we will NEVER forget those precious, beautiful girls and their families. They will always be in our heart and our prayers.

Thank you,

Patricia Filewood

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(click here to read letters to the Victim Services Division)