Almost thirteen years ago, in December of 1997, Eastern Illinois University freshman Andrea Will broke up with her boyfriend, 20-year-old Justin Boulay.
Two months later, on February 2, 1998, Boulay confronted Will about her dating other men. He flew into a rage. "I lost it. ... I couldn't let go of her neck," he wrote in a note after strangling the young Will to death with a telephone cord.
Now, to the surprise and outrage of many connected to the victim, Boulay is set to walk free -- and move to Hawaii with his new wife.
"I said: 'How in the world, if he's in prison, did he get married? And how in the world is he going to Hawaii?'" recalled Patricia Rosenberg, Andrea Will's mother, to the Chicago Tribune.
Despite Rosenberg's shock, it's all true: Boulay married Rachel Rivers, an assistant professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, in 2007. They had known each other since they were teenagers; Rivers married Boulay at the Danville Correctional Center.
He was given 24 years of jail time for the killing of Will, a sentence that family members found shockingly low at the time. After receiving day-for-day good time credit for twelve years, as allowed by Illinois law, Boulay has completed his sentence.
He is being released on parole with his new wife as his sponsor.
The Sun-Times captures some of the response to the news:
Boulay's release has sparked outrage; a Facebook page -- Voices for Andrea Faye Will -- has more than 1,200 members.
"It's not like we are looking for revenge," said Sally Zikas of Tinley Park, who was a sorority friend of Will's. "But this is such a slap in the face. You can't just see [Boulay] fly off to paradise without having our say."
But it's not only locally that Boulay's release is raising red flags. In Honolulu, prosecutor Ken Kaneshiro has expressed his concerns about Boulay's arrival. Local news station KITV in Hawaii reports that Kaneshiro wrote a letter to the governor and the state parole director, asking that Boulay spend time on parole in Illinois before coming to his state.
Kaneshiro said parolees can fake their way through months of supervision, covering up violent tendencies until parole officers relax their rules.
Kaneshiro is also concerned that Boulay killed a university coed, and his wife is employed by the university.
"I am concerned about the safety of the students at the University of Hawaii, but overall I am concerned about the safety of the citizens that we have a convicted murderer coming here and we need to know what plan of supervision there is," Kaneshiro said.
Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sharyn Elman and Hawaii Parole Authority director Max Otani disagree. They both argue that all standard procedures are being followed in Boulay's case; that he will be undergoing anger management classes; and that otherwise, there's no cause to keep him from moving to be with his wife.
What do you think?