Sniper who terrorized from hotel balcony up for parole again

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DERBY, Kan. (KWCH) -- Michael Soles, the man who shot numerous people from the balcony of a hotel balcony in Wichita, Kansas four decades ago, is once again eligible for parole.

The Kansas Prisoner Review Board met in Derby, Kansas Wednesday to hear public comments for and against his release.

August 11, 1976 was a warm Wednesday afternoon. Just before 3 p.m., Michael Soles went onto a balcony on the southeast corner of the Holiday Inn in downtown Wichita and opened fire.

For 11 minutes, he shot his two rifles with his eye to the scope.

"He was randomly just picking people off. He doesn't know these folks," said former Sedgwick County Sheriff Mike Hill, who was on duty that day.

Soles killed three people and wounded eight others.

Now, 41 years later, Soles is once again eligible for parole. It's up to the Kansas Prisoner Review Board to decide his fate.

During public comment portion, six people testified to keep him in prison. No one argued for his release.

"He gave up his right for freedom forever," said Michael McKenna, a retired Wichita police officer who worked that day.

Judge Keith Sanborn, a former Sedgwick County District Attorney who prosecuted Soles, begged the board to keep him where he is.

"I hope you'll say, 'Michael, you made your bed, now you got to lie in it,' and make him stay," said Sanborn.

Former Sheriff Hill is the man who shot Soles and ended the attack. He read the names of each of the victims and said he was there to represent them.

"There's an old saying that we use: 'You do the crime, you do the time.' And his time is not up," said Hill.

Current Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett made the argument that if this crime were to happen today, Soles would have no chance for parole, and would even face the death penalty.

"Please pass on Soles as long as you possibly can. I'll be back when the time comes. In the mean time, let these folks and the rest of these victims and the officers who worked this have some peace for a few years, and not have to think about this," said Bennett.

The Kansas Prisoner Review Board will meet with Soles in about a month, then will deliberate for two to four weeks before making a decision on whether to grant him parole.