A convicted rapist and murderer was nearly set free after serving 20 of his 71-year sentence.

A convicted rapist and murderer was nearly set free after serving 20 of his 71-year sentence.

Samuel Galbraith, 47, was scheduled to be released on Monday from the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. However, the Parole Board in Baton Rouge, appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards, has announced its decision to rescind the parole.

In November, the Board approved, in a three-to-zero, unanimous vote, to grant parole to Galbraith. He would have been released April 23, 2017. The Governor's Office has confirmed that the case will be reheard based on a technicality.

The victim's mother, Jesse McWilliams, stated that her notification letter for the parole hearing was mailed to an address in Albany, New York, instead of her actual address in Albany, Illinois.

Due to this discrepancy, the Board will reschedule a subsequent parole hearing for Galbraith. This will ensure that McWilliams and Skinner, have the opportunity to fully participate in the process.

The reason Galbraith came up for parole is due to a relatively new law. It grants first-time felony offenders eligibility for parole at the age of 45, after serving 20 years of their sentence. His original sentence stipulated that he serve at least 85 percent of 71 years in prison. 

The board granted parole based on Galbraith's good conduct, community service, completion of various rehabilitation programs, and having a strong family support system.

When McWilliams heard that Galbraith was going to be released, she flew to Baton Rouge from Illinois to tell her daughter's story.

The body of Karen Eads Hill, 21, was found, tied to a tree in the woods near Fort Polk, in 1988.

Hill, an Albany, Illinois native, was living in Louisiana with her husband James, who, at the time, was a U.S. Army sergeant, stationed at Fort Polk.

Prosecutors said that on the night of November 21st, 1988, Galbraith abducted Hill from her job at a convenience store (then a Circle K) on Entrance Road in Leesville. He took her 10 miles away to Kisatchie National Forest. There, he raped her, tied her to a tree with a shoe lace, and shot her in the left eye with a .22. 

The case went unsolved for nine years.

At the time of the crime, Galbraith, was a 19-year-old soldier, also at Fort Polk. Nearly ten years after Hill's death, in 1997, Galbraith bragged to the wrong person who went to authorities. He was extradited from Texas to Louisiana.

Before a trial was held, Galbraith plead guilty to raping and murdering Hill, when DNA evidence linked him to the crime. With more than a decade between crime and conviction, Skinner said some key evidence had been lost by the State Crime Lab. Despite a First Degree Murder charge, Galbraith entered a plea deal for Manslaughter and Attempted Aggravated Rape, with a 71-year sentence.

McWilliams thinks the nine-year freedom is more than Galbraith should have had, and his time in prison has been way too brief. "There are people in jail for stealing a pick-up truck that are serving more time than he is," she said.

Skinner said, "I would've never in my wildest nightmares dream he'd be granted parole." 

"The justice system in Louisiana failed my wife, Karen, and her family," said James.

The date of the rescheduled parole hearing has not been announced yet.