A 32-year-old Jenkins man who was sentenced in March to 10 years in prison in connection with the shooting death of his neighbor will be eligible for parole in September.
A Letcher Circuit Court jury convicted Samuel Todd Collier of second-degree manslaughter on Feb. 17 in the 2010 shooting death of Mark Joseph Sturgill, 48, and recommended Collier serve the 10-year prison 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 would be eligible for parole after serving two years of the 10-year sentence, he could be released as early as this fall.
Sturgill’s widow, Melissa Sturgill, has organized a petition in an effort to keep Collier in prison for the entire 10-year sentence.
“I told the kids I would do everything I could to keep him in (prison),” said Mrs. Sturgill. “I wish everyone in Letcher County would sign it.”
In addition to an online petition, which has garnered 244 signatures, “Justice for Mark Sturgill” has obtained 377 “likes.”
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 teenaged sons would most likely move.
Mrs. Sturgill is taking the petition with her to a hearing before the parole board in Frankfort on July 16.
“I don’t think his sentence should be based on a percentage, because life isn’t,” she said.
The online petition can be accessed at www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-paroleboard.