The Woodward News

Local News

December 20, 2013

Board says no to parole

Woodward, Okla. — Despite moving on to the second stage of the parole consideration process, Stephen W. Arfstrom will remain in prison for at least another 3 years.

Arfstrom was convicted of murder in the 1984 strangling death of 20-year-old Lisa Knott.  For his sentence, he received life with the possibility of parole. Arfstrom first became eligible for parole in 1998, but he was denied and every 3 years since he has reapplied.

And each time, Knott's parents Clara Jane and Gerald Alexander mounted a letter writing campaign and made written appeals for his parole to be denied yet again.

This year was the sixth time Arfstrom applied for parole, with his hearing slated for the November docket of the Oklahoma State Pardon and Parole Board.  During that hearing, the Pardon and Parole Board decided for the first time to pass Arfstrom's parole request on to the second stage of consideration.

The Alexanders became nervous that their daughter's killer was getting closer to being released from incarceration.  So they launched another letter writing campaign and made additional appeals to the Parole Board to deny Arfstrom's release.

Clara Jane Alexander said she and her husband even appeared before the Parole Board on Dec. 2 as part of the board's December docket meeting to make their pleas directly to the board members.

Since then the couple has been anxiously awaiting to hear how the Parole Board voted.  Clara Jane Alexander said she had been calling the board's offices every day for the past week trying to learn Arfstrom's fate.

"I'll tell you we were getting so worried because we were not able to find out the results," Clara Jane Alexander said.  "Then when we finally did find out yesterday (Wednesday) evening that he'd been denied, it felt just like a load had been lifted off of our shoulders."

"I feel like Clara Jane, that it was a miracle that they denied him this time and that a big, heavy load was just lifted away," Gerald Alexander said.

"We've had our prayers answered, that's for sure," Clara Jane Alexander said.

She said she believes that the community support in their letter writing campaigns played a big part in helping to get Arfstrom's parole denied.

"All the letters did a lot of good," she said, noting "we appreciate all the people who did write letters.  One of the parole guys said the board had received 161 letters, and we feel like that was pretty good."

The Alexanders said they know their battle to keep Arfstrom in prison is not completely over, but they're going to enjoy knowing he will have to serve at least another 3 years.

"We'll have to fight this and go through the whole rigamarole again, but right now it's a big relief," Gerald Alexander said.

"We're just glad to have it all over for a while," Clara Jane Alexander said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Tulsa man looking for military friend

    There are times in everyone's life when you think back and wonder whatever happened to those old friends from your past.

    July 23, 2014

  • Zoning change approved by commission

    Monday night Woodward city commissioners unanimously approved a zoning change that was contested by one local man who was protesting because he wants the neighborhood to continue its residential growth.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tangier Reunion set for Saturday, Sunday

    When Barbara (Allison) Merwin thinks back to the years she spent in the classrooms of Tangier High School, it takes a few moments for her to recall how school life was 60 years ago.

    July 23, 2014

  • Traveler Majors take regional opener

    ALVA - The Traveler Majors continued their strong Connie Mack playoff showing at Northwestern Oklahoma State University Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • County OKs road use agreement

    Woodward County Commissioners on Monday approved a final version of a road use agreement between a energy company planning a wind turbine construction project near southeast Woodward County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Camp to show art is everywhere

    The Woodward Arts Theatre will become a recycling plant next week.

    July 22, 2014

  • Fairview Wrangler Rodeo turns 50 this year

    Western fun continues in Northwest Oklahoma as the Fairview Wrangler’s hosting their 50th annual rodeo.

    July 22, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has educators worried

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — With the Legislature's repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they're concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 state which have implemented the standards.

    July 22, 2014

  • web1.jpg Travelers win Connie Mack state championship

    Down 2-0 and down to their final three outs, the Traveler Majors delivered a championship rally in the seventh inning Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • Hearing set on rezoning

    City commissioners will tackle rezoning items and a licensing agreement amendment Monday evening at the regularly scheduled meeting of the City of Woodward and Woodward Municipal Authority.

    July 20, 2014