Killer's parole review prompts call for change in law

David Brooks will come up for his 19th parole review in fall

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - At the same time a Pasadena family is fighting to keep a serial killer in prison, there is a call to change the frequency of parole reviews for those convicted of capital murder.

According to Victims Rights Advocate Andy Kahan, the state parole board can go as long as five years in between reviews for those convicted of violent, aggravated offenses.

Kahan said for those convicted of capital murder, parole reviews have to happen at least every three years.

"For families to have to continually go through parole hearings generally every two and a half years absolutely defies logic," said Kahan.

The push to change this law is highlighted by the families of those killed during one of the wort mass murders in U.S. history. In the early 1970s, Elmer Wayne Henley, Dean Corrl and David Brooks kidnapped, tortured and killed nearly 30 young boys from the Houston area.

In the fall, Brooks will come up for his 19th parole review since he was sentenced to life in prison.

"Write letters, send pictures," said Elaine Dreymala. "It dredges up everything and there's dreams, there's nightmares."

Dreymala's 13-year-old son, Stanton, was the trio's last victim. The family members said every time Brooks comes up for parole, it forces them to gather pictures of Stanton, write letters and catalogue the inmate details of grief and loss in preparation of fighting his potential release.

"It's draining, it's very hard," said Stanton Dreymala's sister, Michelle Wilson. "It takes about six months to prepare because you can't do it all at once, it's too hard emotionally."

James Dreymala said the frequency of these parole reviews forces the family to constantly fight Brooks' release instead of focusing more on happy memories of Stanton.

"Just unbearable," said James Dreymala. "It's horrible, every time it comes up all the memories pop into your head."

The Dreymalas and Kahan are hoping the state Legislature will pass a law next session that would allow the parole board to wait as long as five years between reviewing cases of those convicted of capital murder. Kahan said a similar bill filed last session was unanimously approved by the House, but did not make it to a vote in the Senate before the session expired.

Kahan also said he is hoping Texas lawmakers will consider a California law that allows the parole board in that state the discretion of waiting as long as 15 years in between reviews for those convicted of violent offenses.

"It will not just impact me, my wife and my daughter but it will also impact other families that are going through or will go through the same process," said James Dreymala.

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