Francesca Weatherhead, 25, a Michigan newlywed and former homecoming queen was killed in a car crash last week that involved a parolee fleeing Livonia, Mi., police. They were pursuing him for an attempted home invasion when, police say, he ran a red light and broadsided Weatherhead’s car. Her family wants to know why the suspect, John McCallum, 27, a habitual offender whose crimes include home invasion, weapons violations, drug possession and larceny, was paroled to begin with, reports the Detroit Free Press. He was paroled in May, five years after he was sentenced to 4-20 years in prison for home invasion and drug possession. Kristina Vitale, Weatherhead’s sister, said, “It just baffles my mind that someone with that history was even allowed out. He’s being tried for his fourth serious offense? Does it take a life … to keep someone behind bars?”
The Michigan Department of Corrections says McCallum was eligible for parole on Sept. 15, 2013, but was given a continuance by the parole board to complete a violence prevention program. “He successfully completed the program with a very positive overall assessment and was paroled May 6, 2014,” said the state. “While in prison he also completed his GED … and the Chance for Life program. The parole board also indicated that prisoner McCallum expressed remorse and insight into his offense during his interview.” Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said Michigan’s parole system has produced one of the lowest recidivism rates in the U.S.: 71% of prisoners released do not come back to prison within three years. “However, predicting human beings’ future behavior can be a very difficult task. Unfortunately, some of the individuals they parole end up not being successful and some end up hurting innocent citizens,” Marlan said.