Bryan Durman's widow pleads with parole board not to free man convicted in Lexington officer's death

gkocher1@herald-leader.comFebruary 24, 2014 

FRANKFORT — Relatives and colleagues of Lexington police officer Bryan Durman pleaded Monday with the Kentucky Parole Board to keep the man convicted in his death behind bars.

Glenn Doneghy was sentenced in 2011 to 20 years in prison for second-degree manslaughter. Durman, 27, was struck by a sport utility vehicle belonging to Doneghy on North Limestone while investigating a noise complaint on April 29, 2010.

Durman died a short time later. He was the first Lexington police officer to die in the line of duty in about 25 years. He is survived by his wife, Brandy, and a son, Brayden.

In her address to the nine-member board, Brandy Durman disputed any notion of "closure."

"There is no moving on, no getting past it," she said.

Brandy Durman read a letter written by 8-year-old Brayden: "The bad guy has been there for almost four years. Keep him in there for another 100 years. ... I'm mad because he killed my dad. You're mean. You shouldn't kill police officers because they protect people. When I'm an Army man, I will protect you. ... Life has been bad for me because I miss my dad very much because you killed him."

Brandy Durman also told the board, "Please don't make the precedent of setting free a cop killer after only four years."

Doneghy, 37, is eligible for parole this year because, at the time of the crime, a defendant had to serve 20 percent of the 20-year sentence before being eligible for parole. Doneghy's time served includes the 484 days he was in jail before being sentenced in 2011.

The Kentucky legislature passed a bill in 2013 called the Bryan Durman Act, which requires those convicted of second-degree manslaughter of a clearly identified police officer or firefighter to serve 85 percent of their sentences. Because the law was enacted after Doneghy was sentenced, it doesn't affect his parole eligibility.

The parole board won't make a decision until Tuesday, when it will hear from Doneghy via a teleconferencing link with Little Sandy Correctional Complex in Sandy Hook. Brandy Durman said she would attend Tuesday's parole board meeting in Frankfort.

Victim hearings before the parole board are typically closed to the public, but Monday's proceeding was open because the Durman family allowed it. More than 40 relatives, friends and police officers attended the hearing. Among them was Lexington police Chief Ronnie Bastin.

Lexington police officer Chad Karsner told the board of all the important events that Brayden Durman will experience without his father, including getting a driver's license, graduating high school and perhaps entering the military to be an "Army man."

Karsner said he never left Durman's side that night "because to me the worst thing I could imagine is dying alone, lying in the street. ... I replay that moment every day for the last four years, over and over and over in my head."

Karsner said Doneghy had been charged nine times with assaulting police or corrections officers.

"At this time, in this case, we should not consider parole to be a valid operation," he said. "This man will continue to commit crimes against the people and the commonwealth of Kentucky for the next decade."

Durman's mother, Margaret Durman, told the board that Doneghy "has never shown remorse to us."

If the parole board decides to deny parole, Doneghy would be eligible again in two years.

In a brief address to the parole board, Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said he gets "so angry listening to people beg you to do what a jury said."

"What's the message to these people? Come back and beg, beg a parole board set up by law to do just exactly what you're doing," Larson said.

"I've got no blame for the parole board, because you're just doing what our criminal-friendly laws set up. But it's disgusting to me that Brandy and her family have to come over here and beg you all to punish a guy who killed somebody. Of course, your answer is going to be a message to the public: Does crime pay or not?"

Parole board member Sarah Johnson said the hour-long hearing was "very emotional" for her.

"Bryan Durman is a true hero. He is a true hero in every sense of the word," Johnson said. "I feel confident that we will make a good decision in this case."

Parole board member George Carson said "it really is gut-wrenching to sit here and hear what your family has to go through. ... I agree with Mr. Larson. It is a travesty for the family to have to come here every two years to go through this. But that's what it is, and it's going to be that way unless we do something collectively."

Parole board member Dwayne Depp, a former captain with the Kentucky State Police, said he remembered the night Durman died.

"It had a huge impact on my life," Depp said. Then, speaking directly to Brandy Durman, Depp said, "I remember being home that night. I remember seeing it on the news. I'm not ashamed at all to say that when I heard that, my son and I said a prayer for you. And I want you to know that every time I see a law-enforcement car or every time I see somebody wearing a uniform ... I have those thoughts about just what your husband stood for: and that was for protecting people, that was for doing the right thing... ."

Greg Kocher: (859) 232-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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