BINGHAMTON, NY – (WIVT/WBGH) A Binghamton family is asking for the public’s help to keep a child rapist and killer behind bars.
In 1984, James Wales was convicted for the rape and murder of 12-year-old Cheri Lindsey and sentenced to 33 years to life in prison. After becoming eligible for parole in 2017, Wales has been denied parole four separate times, including earlier this year in April. Even though he was denied, Wales now has another shot at freedom.
The New York State Parole Board is considering him for a medical parole. The Lindsey family was notified late last week that Wales will be interviewed by the board due to a non-terminal medical condition.
Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar says that doesn’t matter.
“You’ll have to pardon my lack of sympathy, you’ll have to pardon my callousness, but I say who cares? Mr. Wales is exactly where he belongs, in prison,” said Akshar.
Cheri Lindsey was murdered here in 1984. The space has since become the Forget-Me-Not Memorial Garden, to remember, not only Cheri and her family, but her father Dave who recently passed away, who was also a member of the Binghamton Police Department.
“He should not be afforded the luxury that he stole from my sister and our family. Before my father’s passing, we as a family, assured him that we would continue his and our mother’s fight to keep him behind bars,” said Shelley Wood, the Lindsey’s sister.
Members of the county legislature, Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham and others gathered to urge the community to contact the board and recommend a fifth denial of parole for Wales.
“The purpose of parole is to evaluate people for release based on who they are today, not to extend sentences in perpetuity. When the Parole Board makes its decisions based on this principle, they are right to do so – and bring us one step closer to justice. No one can or should minimize the tremendous and lasting harm of serious crime. Yet we must also value redemption & human transformation. People can and do rehabilitate themselves and others around them every day. That is why we oppose permanent punishment,” said Jose Saldana, Director of the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign.
Community members who would like to submit letters of opposition to Wales’ parole can get information at binghamtonhomepage.com.