Rape, torture suspect received early parole despite warning signs

By Scott Finn 

Last month, the state and nation were riveted by the story of a young Charleston woman, Megan Williams, who police say was raped and tortured for days in a Logan County trailer. That trailer was owned by 49-year-old Frankie Brewster, who faces kidnapping and sexual assault charges, along with her son and four other defendants. 

This isn’t the first time Brewster’s been in trouble with the law. In 1996, she pleaded guilty to killing her mother-in-law. A judge sentenced her to 20 years in prison, but five years into her sentence, she was paroled. 

We wondered, how could anyone convicted of killing someone be released from jail after just five years? We looked at court and parole records and discovered that members of the state parole board didn’t know a key piece of information that might have affected their decision – while Brewster was out on bail awaiting her murder trial, she was arrested for another crime. 

Also, we discovered that West Virginia’s sentencing laws vary wildly, with little rhyme or reason. A killer can get out of jail in five years, while a purse snatcher can spend the rest of his life in prison.

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