Sam Strange denied parole in double murder | TheUnion.com

Sam Strange denied parole in double murder

On Friday, March 13, a parole hearing was held for convicted murderer Sam Strange, and he was denied parole for the brutal murders of two teenage girls, Dawn Donaldson and Chrissy Campbell. Strange is serving two 15-years-to-life sentences for the 1996 convictions.

Strange was denied parole at his first parole hearing on Aug. 27, 2013. His next hearing was set at that time for 2016; it was not clear why it was moved up.

Since shortly after his arrest in 1994, Strange has consistently pointed the finger at two other men. Strange maintains that he witnessed the crime and only disposed of the girls' bodies, keeping quiet out of fear of retaliation.

At Friday's hearing, Strange maintained his previous claim that he was not responsible for the murders and he only helped hide the victim's bodies after the real perpetrators threatened his family.

Nevada County Deputy District Attorney James Phillips pointed to trial testimony that the girls were driven to Strange's residence before the crimes, that the ax and sledgehammer used in the murder came from Strange's garage, that Strange disposed of the weapons in a nearby pond, that Strange's fingerprints were recovered from the plastic bags that held the victim's bodies, and that Strange repeatedly lied to the police when questioned.

"We expressed cynicism about his story that all he did was get rid of the bodies," Phillips said. "The physical evidence tied him, and no one else, to the crime."

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The emotionally tense hearing was attended by relatives of both victims.

Members of Campbell's family indicated they were not opposed to Strange's release. But Donaldson's mother and sister disagreed, saying they were relieved and happy that his parole was denied.

According to Phillips, in the end, the hearing officers weren't satisfied with Strange's explanation.

The hearing, held at Soledad State Prison, lasted three hours. The Board of Prison Terms set Strange's next parole hearing for 2018.

"These are tough cases and when the defendants refuse to accept responsibility and don't appear to have rehabilitated we argue strenuously against parole," Newell said in a prepared statement. "DDA Phillips did a good job for the office and the citizens of Nevada County."

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

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