9th parole hearing begins for man who killed deputy in 1972

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 4, 2016) – Convicted killer Billy Ray Adams is up for parole again. In February 1972, Adams shot and killed Marion County Deputy Floyd Thomas Settles during a bank robbery. While Adams is serving a life sentence and applied for parole nine times, Deputy Settles’ family is fighting to keep him behind bars.

“I hold Billy Ray Adams accountable. His cruel and deliberate choices took the life of a wonderful man and forever changed the lives of those who knew and loved him,” said Dawn Viers, who never met her father because he was shot eight months before she was born. “We’ve spent all of my life grieving him and having to relive his death over and over again, while we fight to keep his murderer behind bars.”

Today at Adam’s parole hearing, Viers was joined by friends and family members voicing their support against Adams’ freedom.

“Every parole hearing opens an old wound for our family members who are forced to again relive the day that our loved one was slain,” said Linda Settles Duncan, who is Deputy Settles’ youngest sister. “Our nightmare will not end until he is dead. Our family will constantly relive this day and all the days after because of Billy Ray Adams.”

Back on February 24, 1972, Deputy Settles was called to the Cumberland branch of the American Fletcher National Bank and Trust Company. Two men wearing ski masks were in the middle of a robbery, which ended with Adams shooting Settles three times, killing him. Deputy Settles was 26 years old.

“Anybody who wants to kill a police officer, or kill police officers, deserves to be in prison for the rest of their lives,” said Fortville Police Officer Matt Fox, a friend of the Settles’ family.

Parole hearings used to be annual, but the law was changed to every five years. Settles’ family says these hearings never get any easier.

“It feels that as soon as we get to the point where we can move on and make plans for the future, something from the past comes back and rears its ugly head,” said Larry Giordano, who is Settles’ nephew. “Usually the wounds just get ripped back open again.”

That’s why keeping Adams behind bars is something Settles’ family wants to do to keep his memory alive.

“I’m so proud of him for his sacrifice,” said Viers when asked what she wishes she could tell her father. “He will always be my hero.”

Adams will get his chance to give his side of the hearing on January 12. The decision will follow soon after.

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