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Parole or No Parole: Kenneth Loggins Story

Should juvenile inmates have the chance at parole? In Kenneth Loggins story, he was not so lucky. Find out why he didn’t get the parole status on his sentence. Kenneth Loggins who was responsible for a murder over 25 years ago could possibly receive parole any time after his re-sentencing hearing. 

Kenneth Loggins is known for his role in the February 22, 1994 murder of Vicki Lynn DeBlieux. Originally Kenneth Loggins was sentenced to death for this crime, but his sentence has officially changed to life in prison with no chance at parole. However, after the United States, Supreme Court started banning executions of inmates who were committing crimes during their juvenile years. 

However, Kenneth Loggins has received a re-sentencing hearing, which will be in front of the Tracie Todd, a Jefferson County Circuit Judge. 

The Crime

During the evening hours of February 21, 1994, Vicki DeBlieux, 37 was hitchhiking from her home in Chattanooga, Tennessee to her mom’s house in Louisiana. 

During that night of DeBlieux hitchhiking four teens including Kenneth Loggins who was only 17 years old at the time were doing drugs and drinking. The group of teens saw DeBlieux on I-59 right outside the Trussville exit situated in Jefferson County. 

The group of teens offered DeBlieux to take her all the way to Louisiana, so she did not have to hitchhike anymore. Of course, DeBlieux accepted their offer. Instead of the group of teens taking DeBlieux to Louisiana like they stated they would, they took her into a wooded area. They told her they were going into the wooded area to pick up another reliable vehicle that they can take on their journey down to Louisiana. 

When getting to the wooded area, the group of teens started to drink some more. The group of teens started chucking their alcohol bottles directly at DeBlieux, who started running away from them. 

As DeBlieux was running away from them, Loggins was able to catch up to her and tackle her to the ground. Then the entire group of teens started to kick DeBlieux repeatedly. When Loggins noticed that DeBlieux was still alive after all this abuse, he took it upon himself to stand on her throat until she passed away. 

Then the group of teens would put DeBlieux body in the back of their truck and took her luggage she had brought with her to the Bald Rock Mountain where they would remove her ring and clothing. The group of teens would then insert many different objects in her cold, dead body before throwing her off the cliff. 

When the group of teens left, they went directly to the car wash and this is where they would clean up the blood that was in the truck of the car from DeBlieux’s dead body. They would then search through DeBlieux’s luggage and then hid it in some woods. 

Then only three of the teens, Loggins included, would go back to the Bald Rock Mountain where they mutilation of DeBlieux occurred. They would then cut and stab DeBlieux over 180 times. They would go as far as severing DeBlieux fingers removing DeBlieux teeth, so investigators could not properly identify the body, while also cutting out one of her lungs to eat it. 

The medical examiner would then discover nearly every skull bone in DeBlieux head was fractured and every bone in DeBlieux face was also fractured a minimum of one time. Along with DeBlieux teeth being removed along with finding her left lung was also cut out as well as her thumbs and fingers were severed too. 

The medical examiner ruled the cause of death was due to blunt force trauma to the head alongside possible asphyxiation. 

The three teens that returned to the body would give the fourth teen that chose to not return to the body a finger as a present. 

However, all four teens would ultimately be arrested when the fourth teen started showing off the severed finger to all his friends. 

Ultimately, a jury would find Loggins guilty of one count of capital murder and the recommended punishment would be death. 

Re-Sentencing

In the Miller v Alabama case, the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that for juveniles who committed a crime that was of capital murder status they would be to have a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, but that was unconstitutional. 

However, it took 4 years for this to be put in place. In 2016, the court finally started applying this ruling retroactively to those individuals who were convicted prior to the 2012 ruling. This ruling would then open the chance of parole for nearly 80 individuals in the state of Alabama. Loggins was one of these individuals, as he was only 17 years old at the time. 

However, you should also note that judges still can re-sentence these inmates without parole, but they will need to also have other sentencing options as well. 

During Loggins re-sentencing hearing, his defense team called three people to the witness stand, a criminologist and two psychologists. 

Dr. Laurence Steinburg, who was a psychologist that specializes in adolescent development research was the first to testify. 

Steinburg would talk about how a 17-year-old brain and an adult brain was different in the sense that a teens brain had a harder time reigning in their impulses and how a teen will end up taking more risks than an adult. How Loggins crime that he committed so many years ago is not an indicator of what his character would be right now. 

Dr. Allen Scholey, who is another psychologist was the second to testify. Scholey specializes in forensic and clinical psychology. Scholey had evaluated Loggins many times throughout the years. The first time was in 2006 and the last time was in 2016. Scholey stated that during his first evaluation, he stated that Loggins was less disturbed now than he was in 1995. So, within that 11-year difference, he was well-adjusted now. 

Scholey would then state that Loggins’ IQ rose while he has been in prison and now, he can read college-level books with no problems. Not to mention, how Loggins now has empathy and he can have loving and caring relationships with others as well. 

Dr. James Austin, who is a criminologist took the stand for the defense team last. Austin would state that Loggins is now classified as a medium-security offender with the Alabama Department of Corrections and he should be housed in an appropriate facility. But since he has a life sentence, he is only allowed to be in a closed-security facility, which is more dangerous than a lower level facility. 

Ultimately, it was ruled at the re-sentencing hearing that Loggins will still have life in prison without the chance of getting parole regardless of the pleas and evidence to show that he should have a shot at getting parole someday.

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