When the decision of the Illinois board was announced, two women tearfully hugged each other. They'd come each year for the parole hearings, and they had stated opposing cases to the board. One is the sister of the killer, the other the granddaughter of a victim. "It's finally come," the granddaughter said. "I said what a blessing it is that it's finally here," the convict's sister said. "I do feel for her. We always have." The board had voted, 9-4, to release Chester Weger, the Chicago Tribune reports. Weger was convicted of killing a 50-year-old woman hiking with two friends in Starved Rock State Park in March 1960. He'd lost 23 attempts to be paroled before Thursday. "I'm happy," Weger, 80, said when his sister called him in prison. "Tell everybody I said thank you."
Three women from the Chicago suburbs were bludgeoned to death in the park, but Weger was tried in just one case. He denies killing the women, per WBBM. "I've denied it all the time I’ve been locked up," Weger said in 2010. After the parole hearing last year, Diane Oetting hiked the dead-end trail where her grandmother was killed. "They were trapped,” she said. "There was absolutely no way out for them except to pass him. It was just kind of overwhelming." (Read more parole stories.)