Victim using Facebook to influence parole board

Published: Apr. 13, 2011 at 2:32 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2011 at 1:52 PM EDT
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Kenneth Wayne Woodfin
Kenneth Wayne Woodfin

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A woman nearly killed when a man shot her in the head is turning to Facebook to make sure he stays behind bars. Kenneth Wayne Woodfin was convicted for killing three people and ambushing two police officers back in the 1980s. Now, one victim is hoping the parole board will deny his release during an upcoming hearing.

The headline we found from October 26, 1984, jumps from the page "Area man hunted as killer of three." Kenneth Woodfin murdered his wife, sister-in-law and best friend, and then ambushed a sheriff's deputy. The crime spree spanned Petersburg, Richmond and Hanover.

It was two days later when Woodfin came into a 24-year-old Cheryl Ann Nici-O'Connell's life and changed it forever. The Richmond police officer was working at the Marriott Hotel when the fugitive approached.

"Next thing I know I heard a loud explosion," she remembered. "I looked towards Broad Street, everything was blurry. It looked like someone was pouring red paint over a picture of Broad Street. The bullet went in here, down through my mouth and lodged an eighth of an inch from my carotid."

Somehow Nici-O'Connell survived. When Woodfin was arrested and tried, she testified. He was sentenced to multiple life terms. In 2002 and almost every year since, she's had to relive her nightmare in parole hearings.

"I wish I could forget," she said.

June will mark the sixth attempt at parole. Nici-O'Connoll thinks with new board members, this year is by far the scariest.

"I've seen worse offenders get paroled and I just feel like if he gets out, he's going to want to finish what he started," she explained.

That's why she's created a Facebook page to send out form letters for supporters to give to the parole board.

"The other victims that were killed or were his victims are unable to have a say in this," she said.

Woodfin's parole interview is scheduled for June 1. Two weeks later, Nici-O'Connell will address the board. It takes testimony and letters into consideration. There's no set time frame for a decision. If you want more information on the case, her facebook page, Woodfin No Parole Letter Writing Campaign.

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