William Huff

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency rejected a request from a convicted child killer to loosen terms of his home arrest.

William Huff was released from prison two years ago, after serving 48 years. He pleaded guilty to murdering two young girls in 1967.

The case gained some national attention because then 16-year-old Huff had written a letter to the police chief, threatening another victim and referring to himself as "The Phantom."

"I called myself the Phantom. Those were the mechanisms of a crazy 16-year-old boy," said Huff, as he addressed the clemency board.

"I apologize for everything from the bottom of my heart," said Huff.

But not everyone in the audience at the hearing believed him.

"Two little girls bet their lives on him being a good person and they lost that," said Melisa Haines, whose aunt, Janelle, was one of Huff's victims. Cindy Clelland was the second victim.

"My aunt was not only hit over the head with a rock, but she was killed in the same manner that Cindy was killed, which was eviscerated, disemboweled, strangled, stabbed. Their shorts were removed," said Haines, holding back tears.

Huff was granted early release from prison in January of 2016. Since then, he has lived in Tucson and Pinal County. The state released him without warning the residents of the neighborhood where he was placed.

CBS 5 Investigates first reported this story last April. Huff has not violated any of the terms of his release, according to his parole officer.

Huff's relatives told the clemency board they believe he's changed.

"William is two different people. The one I knew in 1966 and the one I know now," said Charles Huff, who is William's older brother.

"The man I know now, especially, is a good man," said Huff's sister.

In the end, the board voted to keep Huff's status unchanged. He is on home arrest, wearing an ankle GPS monitor and must regularly check in with his parole officer.

It is not the result the victims' families were hoping for, but they are relieved that Huff's terms of release were not loosened.

"They were not able to do what we were hoping to do. But I needed them to understand that there is a side to this other than the paroled side. There was the victims' side as well," said Haines.


Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.