Louisville parents fighting to keep their daughter's killer in jail 4 months after conviction
For two grandparents turned parents, it all comes down to 30 minutes before the parole board Monday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Damien Lacambra killed his wife, Amelia, in April of 2016 in her father's Louisville home. And though he was found guilty by a jury four months ago, Lacambra could soon walk free.
Despite Lacambra shooting his wife between the eyes in front of their newborn son, prosecutors couldn't convince the jury it was murder. Instead, he was convicted of manslaughter, sentenced to 10 years in prison with parole eligibility after just two years.
Lacambra's first parole hearing is Monday, just four months after his December 2017 conviction. He'd been locked up since the time of the crime, so with the way Kentucky laws are written, he was almost immediately eligible for release at the time of his conviction.
"I mean, he put the gun to her forehead, four inches away, and pulled the trigger knowing she was going to die with her son right next to her." said Jim Forsting, the victim's father. "I don't know what else you can call it besides an execution."
Those images haunt Forsting and Liz Stone as they fight to keep their daughter's killer behind bars. The grandparents have cared for the Lacambra's 2-year-old son Luke ever since the killing.
"It's day in and day out, for years and years and years, that you're in pain," Stone said. "It's like being victimized over and over again."
Damien and Amelia Lacambra's had a whirlwind romance. The couple went from meeting to married in six months to Amelia's death a year later. She was killed just six weeks after Luke's birth.
At trial, Lacambra admitted to pulling the trigger but testified that it was an accidental shooting and claimed he didn't know the gun was loaded.
"I know it doesn't make any sense, but it was just another way of me annoying her, playing with her," Lacambra testified.
He's an Army veteran, well-versed in weapons, who spent time at Fort Knox training cadets. In fact, That's where Lacambra met his wife on a double date. During sentencing, Judge McKay Chauvin cut down the "truthfulness" of his story, pointing out how it changed several times from the original 911 call to interrogation to the story he told jurors.
Nonetheless, ten years is the maximum sentence for second -degree manslaughter. It's considered a non-violent crime in Kentucky, meaning Damien Lacambra only has to serve 20 percent of his sentence.
"This guy could walk free next week," Forsting said. "[If] this guy gets out, he's not just a danger to us. He's a danger to everyone."
Working with the Mary Byron Project, Amelia Lacambra's family has gathered more 6,000 signatures in an online petition. They're taking their concerns public and plan to present hundreds of letter to the parole board in hopes of keeping their daughter's killer behind bars.
"For murdering or executing our daughter, for someone to be released into society just two years later, that is not just a tragedy for our family," Forsting said. "It's a tragedy for the justice system as a whole."
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