'He needs to be behind bars'

'He needs to be behind bars' »Play Video
SHELTON, Wash. - A family here wants an explanation from the state as to why their son's killer sent to a private, out of state prison in Arizona?

Eleven years ago, Gerald Harkins was shot twice, killed and left in the woods. He was just 18.

A few miles from Shelton in the family's living room, there are old newspaper clippings, including one that says: "Killer Gets 66 Years in Prison."

But three weeks ago, Roy Townsend and another killer puts ladders against a prison fence in Arizona. One was recaptured, but Townsend, convicted of killing Gerald Harkins is still at large.

"To me, it's like being right back where we were 10 years ago," said Gerald's father, Larry. "Waiting and hunting."

Audrey and Larry Harkins had just begun to heal. Some of the pictures and poems still bring tears. Two years ago, Audrey started putting together a photo album as a memory book.

She never expected a prison break and fear.

"He needs to be behind bars to protect every young adult," she said. "You don't know what would make him turn."

To them, their son's killer is more than a wanted poster. He's a nightmare returned. And they can't understand why the State of Washington moved a murderer into a medium security private prison.

"I don't understand it," Larry Harkins said. "To me, when he was convicted in the state, a judge gave him a penalty and the state of Washington was supposed to carry that penalty out. He was put in their care, and, you know what, they blew it."

The Harkins say they have a meeting Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen to talk about their son and a prison break.

The Harkins may worry, but police in Shelton and Mason County say a fugitive would have to be crazy to come back. After all, they say everybody knows everybody and everything that's going on.

In the meantime, Larry and Audrey say they want two things: Townsend's arrest and changes in the state's prison practices.