By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Lisa Hood told the Mississippi Parole Board on Tuesday that her husband Steve Hood’s death in May 2009 kept him from witnessing the graduation from nursing school of one daughter and the pending graduation of another daughter and of a son, who is following is father’s footsteps by becoming a state trooper.
Hood appeared before the five-member Parole Board in opposition to the early release of William Francis, 27, whom Hood, a 27-year Highway Patrol veteran, was pursuing when he lost control of his patrol vehicle and was killed near his Guntown home. Francis, whose car was fueled with nitrous oxide, pleaded guilty to felony fleeing in the trooper’s death and was sentenced in 2010 to 40 years in prison with 33 years suspended.
Francis’ parole hearing was closed to the public. Hood said the Parole Board told her it would make a decision on Francis’ case soon and notify her of the outcome.
She said she appreciated the fact the board listened to her.
“I just really wish we didn’t have to go through this right now. It is hard since it has been about a year since his sentencing,” she said.
The Mississippi State Trooper Association has been active in sending letters and other correspondence in opposition to the early release of Francis. Trooper Allen Lyles of Kossuth, association president, said a little more than a year “is certainly not long enough for him to serve.”
Lyles said he was appreciative that Col. Donnell Berry, MHP chief, attended the hearing with Hood and two of her children, Stephanie, who is studying to be an occupational therapist, and Matthew, who will graduate from trooper school later this month. Both testified.
Another daughter, Stacie, is a nurse, and sent a letter to the Parole Board.
Lisa Hood said she received a phone call just before Thanksgiving informing her of the Parole Board hearing.
“I was driving,” she recalled. “I about wrecked.”
She said she took photos to the hearing to show the board what a good husband and father Steve Hood was and talked to the board about what has transpired with his family since his death.