The South Carolina parole board rejected a convicted killer’s request for release Wednesday, even after the victim’s son forgave him and no longer opposed parole.
Roy Lee Buff, 68, of Charlotte, lost a chance for parole for the third time in six years, state parole officials said. Buff killed Gene Eddy Evans Sr. in 1989 at a Fort Mill bar called Peanut’s Place after a gambling game. Buff fled South Carolina for two years before he was caught in 1991 in Florida after the case was featured on America’s Most Wanted.
The Herald reported Sunday that Evans’ son, Eddy, forgave Buff before the parole hearing, 27 years after the killing, saying Buff had served enough time and needed to get out of prison to be with his family before he died. However, several others in Evans’ family and another victim who was injured in the crime opposed parole.
Buff was a Charlotte truck dealer who had a problem with alcohol and gambling. He was sentenced to life in prison on murder, burglary, armed robbery, and weapons charges in 1993 when he pleaded guilty to avoid a possible death penalty trial. However, under South Carolina law in 1993, “life in prison” did not always mean life.
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Laws at that time gave convicted killers serving life the potential to seek parole after 20 years in prison. The law has since been changed and killers sentenced to life without parole now cannot seek release.
Buff was rejected because of the violence of the offense and use of a gun, and his criminal record before the shooting indicates the potential for poor community adjustment, said Pete O’Boyle, spokesman for the state parole board.
Buff will be eligible for another parole hearing in the summer of 2018.