Whitesburg KY

Board defers parole for Samuel T. Collier for 24 more months

A 33-year-old Jenkins man sentenced in March to 10 years in prison in connection with the shooting death of his neighbor has been denied parole.

In a decision announced last week, the Kentucky Parole Board deferred parole eligibility for Samuel Todd Collier for 24 months.

A Letcher Circuit jury convicted Collier of seconddegree manslaughter on Feb. 17 in the 2010 shooting death of Mark Joseph Sturgill, 48, and recommended Collier serve the 10-year term.

Collier shot Sturgill in the head around 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 7, 2010 while Sturgill was out for a walk with his mixed-breed dog, Jake, at White Wolf Drive. Collier fired two shots from a .38 caliber Derringer, killing both Sturgill and the dog.

Because Collier received credit for serving 516 days in jail before his trial and was eligible for parole after serving two years of the 10-year sentence, if granted parole he could have been released as early as this fall.

Sturgill’s widow, Melissa Sturgill, organized a petition in an effort to keep Collier in prison for the entire 10- year sentence. She and her two teenaged sons, Gabriel and Caleb, appeared before a parole board in Frankfort on July 16 and presented the board with a petition containing more than 600 signatures. Mrs. Sturgill also took a family scrapbook as well as letters in favor of keeping Collier in prison.

During the 30-minute meeting with the parole board, Mrs. Sturgill and her sons spoke of the impact the murder has had on their lives.

“We presented all of the information we could in that short amount of time,” said Mrs. Sturgill.

Mrs. Sturgill fears that if Collier is released from prison he will return to Jenkins to live. If that is the case, she said she and her two sons would most likely move.

“I feel like I have the weight of the world off my shoulders for two years,” said Mrs. Sturgill.

Collier is being held in the Todd County Jail.

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