Victim's sister tries to keep killer behind bars - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Victim's sister tries to keep killer behind bars

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FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- Forty years after her sister was murdered on Folly Beach, Paula Marion is petitioning the parole board to keep Richard Valenti behind bars.

"This one I think is when they were taking the stretcher when they had found the bodies on Folly Beach," said Marion as she pages through old newspaper clippings.

It's a horrible way for her to remember her older sister.

Those newspaper articles document the murder of Sherri Clark and two other girls in 1974. Richard Valenti was eventually caught and convicted of the crimes.

"I frequently go through the newspaper articles and look back at all the stuff and just can't even imagine what my parents must have gone through losing a child," said Marion.

For years, Paula's mother Janice petitioned the parole board to keep Valenti in prison and she was successful. When Janice died in 2009, Paula continued the fight.

"I feel like it's a special thing to do for my Mom, for my Dad, for my sister to keep her memory alive. Just what the family went through," said Marion.

Today, Paula worries what would happen if she didn't continue the petition.

"I'm concerned that if he was to be let out that he'd go in the same type of community and possibly commit the same type of crimes," said Marion. "I expect one day to go through these things and they're going to fall apart on me."

Her collection of crime clippings are aging, but Paula believes her efforts for justice will never get old.

"I just want him to pay for the crimes that he's committed.  And I think that can best be done right where he is in prison," said Marion.

Paula was 8 years old when her sister was murdered. Four decades later, she's working with the solicitor's office on this petition drive. So far, they've collected a few thousand signatures online and on paper.

Paula says she will personally deliver them to the parole board in Columbia on April 30.

  • Bill Burr

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