Pre-release denied for convicted Marion killer


Parole board denies pre-release for Flathead murderer

DEER LODGE, Mont. - A parole board denied convicted killer Karl Randall Bachman his request for pre-release.

Bachman was sentenced to life in prison in 1977. He kidnapped and killed 9-year-old Jessica Westphal and 11-yea-old Karen Tyler in 1973. The two Marion girls' bodies were found three years later.

Authorities weren't able to arrest Bachman until after he abducted and molested a Glacier National Park employee. She was able to escape, and the resulting investigation eventually led authorities to Bachman, and his arrest for the little girls' murders.

Bachman tried telling the Montana State Parole Board that he was a changed man.

"I've been haunted by what I've done every day and night for 40 years. That's never going to change," said Bachman.

The parole board announced its decision to reject his request after hearing testimony against him. Two of Westphal's brothers stepped up to a microphone to tell the board how tortuous it was to not know what happened for three years.

"The not knowing for three years took my mom and almost killed her, said Ben Westphal.

Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan brought a stack of letters from concerned residents to the Board, and read portions of an email submitted by the Glacier employee Bachman had abducted.

A former classmate of the two girls also spoke about how the crime had cast a dark cloud over the small town of Marion.

"We didn't understand. We thought they were going to come back," said Laurie Coburn.

The board set his next parole hearing for October 2018, which was the maximum amount of time the Board had to work with. 

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