Mother of Murder Victim Uses Internet To Keep A Killer Behind Bars

by Katie Jeffries on January 6, 2010 at 7:12 am

The mother of a murdered child is using the Internet to keep her daughter’s killer behind bars.

Sara West was brutality sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered by Billy Shafer in 1993. Now Tracy Hickman, Sara’s mother, is using the website to help send a message to the parole board. Billy is set to go up for parole in early February. Tracy says she worked with the site’s creator Bret Vinocher to have Sara’s case featured on the site. The site launched eight days ago and Tracy already received over 1,500 letters

"They just started pouring in and from there it just went word of mouth and I posted it on, I work at home, I posted it on our forum there and that response has been tremendous, so we have gotten them from all over the country," says Hickman.

She has even received letters from three other countries. On the website, a person can sign a petition to keep Billy Shafer in prison or print a pre-written letter to send to the parole board. She says every letter is statistically worth a thousand signatures.

"That’s because it takes more thought and more time to actually take the time to write something and why he shouldn’t be released," tells Hickman.

The letters will only be viewed by parole board members and will remain in Billy’s permanent file for future parole hearings. If denied parole this time, he will be eligible again in five to ten years. Tracy says with Billy only being 33 she wants to make sure there are enough letters and signatures in his permanent file to keep him in prison even after she is gone.

"That is what this is all about, for me you know justice for her is to keep him behind bars so he can never hurt another child the way he did her. I mean he tortured that poor child and I never want him to have that opportunity again," tells Hickman.

Even though it has been 16 years since Sara’s murder, Tracy still holds on to Sara’s comforter, blankets and favorite doll, Starlight Sparkles. To read more about Sara’s story or send a letter to the parole board go to the "Block Parole" link above.