Letters Provide New Details About Michael Klunder's Parole
NEWTON, Iowa —We're learning more about the man that police said kidnapped and killed 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard -- Michael Klunder.
KCCI has obtained letters to the parole board in which Michael Klunder calls himself a religious and responsible man. He credits his job where he worked with the public as helping him with his rehabilitation.
The handwritten letters were exchanged between Klunder and the Iowa Parole Board.
In a letter dated July 9, 2007, Klunder said "My disciplinary record is very good and my counselor has noted that I have grown and matured since my incarceration."
Through the letters, we've learned Klunder worked at a public golf course as part of his minimum out work release program.
Residents in Newton said they're shocked to learn that Klunder worked at the Westwood Municipal Golf Course from March of 2007 to July of 2008.
"How could they let him go out and work in the public after the crimes that he's done?" asked Newton resident Patrick Brown. "We have a playground right across the street here and there is a lot of little children playing all the time."
Department of Corrections spokesperson Fred Scaletta said Klunder had worked his way to a minimum security status and was allowed to leave the Newton Correction Facility to work maintenance at the golf course.
"They are usually not in the position where they are networking with the public directly, such as a golf course. There may be public people out there, but they are in areas and so forth where they are not actually networking with or having contact with the public," said Scaletta.
In Klunder's letters to the Parole Board he says, "I work around people on the golf course and I interact with many while I work. The institution and my supervisor has complete trust in me to have this job opportunity."
"I feel kind of strongly that that is not an appropriate place for work release prisoners," said Bob Knabel, city administrator of Newton.
Knable became Newton's city administrator just a year ago. He said since Klunder's time at the golf course in 2007, the city has made changes.
"We do not have any work release prisoners at this time working on the public grounds and I would expect that is going to continue to be the case," said Knabel.
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