Parole board rejects convicted killers plea to shorten his life sentence

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The Iowa Board of Parole rejected a request by a convicted Quad City killer Friday in Des Moines, voting unanimously 5-0 not to commute his life sentence.

Harry Sisco, now 78, applied to the Board to shorten his sentence because of his age.

He appeared on a live video feed from prison in Anamosa, telling the Board  Elaine St. Clair was shot by accident, and doesn't remember putting her body in garbage bags and dumping her body in a Muscatine park in 1991.

"The gun was in the van. I stepped on some clothes, and shoes, that were on the floor and it went off. I thought it hit her in the chest, but it hit her in the head and she died. After the gun went off, I don't remember a whole lot'', he said when questioned about the circumstances surrounding the crime.

Thirteen family members, many from the Quad Cities packed the hearing room. Five testified on behalf of St. Clair, who at the time was a 41-year old bartender in Rock Island and mother of five.

"Please don't let this man walk free, it's not fair", cried sister-in-law Tammy St. Clair.

The Board told Sisco that they don't buy his story, and called him a threat to society.

The Parole Board now will turn over its recommendation to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad who has the final say on commuting sentences in the state. The Governor has only over-ruled the Board's decision twice in more than 20 years.