Convicted Murderer Resentenced, Could Now Get Parole

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STROUDSBURG -- An admitted killer may now get a second chance at freedom after a judge overturned his sentence of life without parole.

Richard Klinger of Stroudsburg committed that murder in Monroe County when he was 17 years old. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole.

But after what happened in court, he has a new shot at getting out of prison sometime soon. A judge gave Klinger a new sentence -- 46 years to life in prison.

Because Klinger has already served 46 years for murdering a woman from Smithfield Township in 1971, this new sentence makes him eligible for parole.

"I am very happy, thank you," Klinger said. "I am so sorry."

After spending nearly five decades behind bars, 63-year-old Richard Klinger may soon be a free man.

Because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that bans life sentences for juveniles, a judge in Monroe County overturned that sentence of life without parole. Klinger's new sentence of 46 years to life gives him a chance to go in front of the state parole board.

"I think it was fair and I think that the record really supports what his decision was," said defense attorney Hillary Madden.

Robert Wertz is a retired state police lieutenant colonel. This was his first homicide case back in 1971. He says he understands why the courts had to rehear Klinger's case but says his job was done 46 years ago.

"He's been an inmate for a number of years. He knows the system. He knows how to play the game. Maybe all of what is going on in there is factual and true. My job was to make sure the investigation was solved and we made the proper arrest. We did that," Wertz said.

Jean Nottle from Northampton County has known Klinger for about five years. She, along with other members of the Berean Bible Church in Stroudsburg, have supported Klinger through the years and are happy with the judge's decision.

"He's remorseful about it and showed that he was very upset," Nottle said.

Klinger's defense attorney will now begin getting his transcripts to the parole board.

There is no set date on when he will meet with them, but his attorney did say the whole process should only take a few months.


  • i quit..


    • CeeMe

      A mistake is picking up the wrong item at the grocery store and yes, there are more serious mistakes people make in life, but murder? Not everyone makes that mistake. His victim won’t get a second chance. Your comment is really lame.

    • Bill K.

      Hey “My Opinion”, A mistake is running a stop sign. This animal murdered a defenseless person for no reason at all. Why, if you feel so bad for this Dick why don’t you volunteer to house him? Why don’t you donate 25% of your income to him so he can survive? Come ON, where’s your compassion?

  • buzzed driver

    According to our laws the sentence was illegal , hence resentencing . Is it right ? , maybe in some cases , but to give a murderer of a young woman another chance to kill makes no sense . CA releasses life sentenced adults in mass numbers .

  • Marc G.

    Disgusting. WNEP treats it like a celebration. It is very telling that the report fails to even mention the VICTIM’S name or how he killed her. But what does it matter, she’s been dead almost half a century, so who cares?! It’s not like SHE is getting paroled from her cell 6 feet under.

  • Bill K.

    If this judge thinks he should go free the judge should let Dick live with him. If he’s that sympathetic this UNNAMED judge shouldn’t have any problem putting him up in his own home. I didn’t watch the video but in the text article above the judge isn’t named. Hiding from public uproar?

  • Eye 4 Eye

    I don’t see how a present day Supreme Court decision can overturn a conviction handed down 46 years ago! The guys a murderer! Eye for a eye! Should have been put down like the dog he is! All these folks and his new found love of 5 years should be required to sign a letter promising that if this guy kills again that they all agree to drink deadly poison, including his lawyer!

  • CeeMe

    Yeah, he’s probably sorry and remorseful, especially after all that time in prison. It’s too bad his victim will never have a second chance at life. When did we become a society that lets killers get a second chance, just because they’re sorry now. How do we know he won’t go off again? Besides, anyone with a little acting ability, can appear sorrowful.

  • Bill K.

    Wish WNEP would contact his victim’s family. Forgiveness? Sounds all great until it’s your loved one who is brutally murdered. I wish Richard Klinger cancer all over his body. I wish for his eyeballs to rot from the inside. I wish for him to spew blood from every orifice. I truly hope that this monster contracts Trigeminal neuralgia. After all that, I hope for him to contract Lou Gehrig’s disease. This doesn’t even begin to describe my intense hatred for any murderer. Especially one who now gets to walk a free man. Don’t go preaching your forgiveness to me. He sure didn’t show the person he murdered any forgiveness or sympathy. This piece of human garbage is only worth one thing….medical experimentation Unit 731 style.

    • CeeMe

      I never seen sentiments expressed quite that way, but I agree. When a person is proven 100% to be a killer, they should be taken out and shot. Why provide for these types for the rest of their pathetic lives, at our expense? If God wants to forgive him, then so be it, but this is the real world. Besides, even God said there is punishment in hell for such actions. I guess if we can do horrible things and then be forgiven, there’s no point in being moral.

    • Marc G.

      Quite well said! SWIFT, harsh punishment would go a long way to curbing violent crime. Violent thugs are not afraid of the legal system. They know its a damn joke. Medical experiments would do the job, but I’d settle for a trial within a month, with only 1 possible appeal. Then death.

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