Leader Blues

Friday, June 20, 2008

TOP STORY > >Glover against giving pardon to young killer

Leader staff writer

A Furlow man’s petition for clemency from the governor has caught the attention of State Sen. Bobby Glover, D-Carlisle, who urged the governor in a letter written Thursday to say no.

Heath Stocks, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1997, hopes the governor will commute his sentence to years so that he may someday be eligible for parole.

“I am writing this letter to advise you that I am opposed to the granting of executive clemency for Heath Stocks. I understand that Mr. Stocks’ petition for clemency was received by your office on Jan. 28, 2008, and you have until Sept. 19, 2008, to make a decision,” Glover wrote.

“As you know, Mr. Stocks is currently serving a life sentence without parole for killing his mother, father and younger sister in 1997. Constituents in my district that have contacted me are strongly opposed to the granting of clemency for Mr. Stocks due to the fact he committed such a horrible and heinous crime.

“It is my understanding that the parole board has gone on record stating that Mr. Stock’s petition is without merit. As a state senator, I feel it is incumbent on me to go on record and express my opposition to clemency for Mr. Stocks,” he wrote.

Matt Decample, spokesman for the governor, said Friday that the governor has not yet acted on Stocks’ petition because of the sheer number of requests he receives.

“It’s just a question of volume,” Decample said. “Essentially, we’re just now getting to those requests received in late ’07. It’s the manpower; it’s not the nature of his request.”

Stocks, 31, is incarcerated at the Tucker Maximum Security Unit near Pine Bluff.

His appeal is his second since he pleaded guilty to the January 1997 murders or Joe, Barbara and Heather Stocks and was sentenced without a trial to life without the possibility of parole.

But he testified later during the victim-impact hearing for convicted rapist Charles A. “Jack” Walls III of Lonoke that he was under the influence of Walls and killed his parents and sister because Walls told him to.

Stocks told Lonoke Circuit Judge Lance Hanshaw that Walls had sexually abused him since he was 10 years old.

He said Walls always said that “if you had a problem you should kill it.”

And when he told Walls that he told his mother about their relationship, Walls told him to “take care of the problem.”

Walls, a Boy Scout leader who pleaded guilty to raping five boys under 14 years of age and no contest to raping Stocks, was sentenced to life plus 90 years. Walls is held at the East Arkansas Regional Unit at Brickeys in Lee County.

Whether Stocks’ claim that Walls told him to kill his family is true has not been proven, because the sheriff’s department did not investigate it.

Stocks testified during the victim-impact hearing that his public defender told him to keep his relationship with Walls “under his hat.”