Victim's relatives outraged over Columbia man's prison release

Oct 8, 2012

Relatives are outraged that authorities freed a Missouri man sentenced to more than 200 years in prison for killing a 16-year-old girl execution-style and wounding two others.

Reportedly, relatives of James Gant's victims were not invited to attend a parole hearing or informed of his release last year.

They assumed he would die behind bars for killing Brenda Hendren and wounding James and Kathy Norman in January 1977 in Columbia. Family learned of Gant's release after conducting a court records search. Now they're angry that he served just 34 years.

Under a law that took effect in 1969, anyone who served two-thirds of their sentence — or two years, whichever came first — was eligible for a parole hearing. The law has since changed.