DAYTON, Iowa — Residents of Dayton plan to hold a special tree-lighting ceremony Monday night to honor Kathlynn Shepard.

A large evergreen tree on the northwest side of town has been covered with 3,000 purple lights, Kathlynn's favorite color. The lights will be switched on during the ceremony.

The Shepard family said a memorial service for Kathlynn is planned for this Thursday at 1 p.m. at the middle school gym in Boxholm at 404 Walnut Street..

Meanwhile in Des Moines Monday morning, Gov. Terry Branstad called for a review of sentencing provisions following Shepard's death.

"Unfortunately, under the law he could only be held so long and he served out. Under the present law which automatically reduces the sentence to half, he was able to be released," said Branstad.

The move follows the discovery last Friday night of a body in the Des Moines River that an autopsy confirmed was Shepard. She was abducted while walking home from school on May 20.

"I think it is appropriate that we review these provisions especially as it affects violent, sexual predators. The parole board, to its credit, three times turned this individual down for parole. So they felt he was high risk and they chose not to parole him," Branstad said.

The provisions allow for reduced criminal sentences.

Authorities believe Michael Klunder was the man who abducted Shepard. He was found dead later on the day Shepard and her 12-year-old friend disappeared.

Klunder, ,42, served two decades in prison of a 41-year sentence for kidnapping. He was released 18 years before his sentence ended on account of good behavior.

Klunder told the Iowa Board of Parole in his three bids for release that his treatment in prison had made him worthy of parole. The Des Moines Register newspaper reports that Michael Klunder argued in his appeals that he no longer was dangerous and that parole would help him adjust back into society more than being released without supervision.

He eventually was released in 2011 under provisions of the state's time-served law.

According to Iowa law, when someone is convicted of a crime that does not carry a mandatory sentence, for every day they serve in prison, they receive 1.2 days off the back end of their sentence so most end up serving less than half their sentence in prison before being paroled.

Shepard's family called again Sunday for stricter laws for offenders who commit crimes against children.

"Due to the current laws of this state, a repeat offender was given the opportunity to attack again. Kathlynn will not be the last if something is not done. Our daughter is gone, but we have SO many more children we feel the need to protect. The children of Iowa are OUR CHILDREN. They are Kathlynn's brothers and sisters," wrote Michael Shepard, Kathlynn's father.
facebook twitter rss mobile google plus
email alerts you tube hooplanow pinterest instagram

What's On KCRG