Liza Ward, who grandparents were among the victims of Charles Starkweather, and also attorney john Stevens Berry at a press conference calling because that a pardon that Caril Ann Clair, formerly Caril Ann Fugate, that accompanied Starkweather on his killing spree. They speak she was being held hostage and also was not a willing accomplice.

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Caril Ann Fugate, second from right, is booked into the Scotts Bluff ar Jail in Gering, Nebraska, on Jan. 30, 1958. She was escorted through Hazel Heflin, wife of former Converse ar Sheriff Earl Heflin of Douglas, Wyoming.


Caril Ann Fugate, girl friend of Charles Starkweather. The Nebraska board of Pardons will think about her request for a pardon today.

LINCOLN — The granddaughter of two of the 11 victim of Charles Starkweather’s murderous spree — an author who’s spent years studying the situation — claimed Monday the Starkweather’s girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, deserves a pardon.

Liza Ward, whose grandparents S. Lauer and also Clara Ward were eliminated in their Lincoln country Club home in December 1958, stated she’s convinced that the then-14-year-old Fugate to be an unwilling hostage who was terrorized by Starkweather to companion him and also couldn’t escape.

“I can not uncover a single piece of proof that she to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” stated Ward, 44. “What i found, in fact, was the she to be the victim the a system, an old boys network, that was sustained by the anger, fear and also grief that the time.”

Ward travel from her home in Duxbury, Massachusetts, in wishes of testifying top top Tuesday before the Nebraska plank of Pardons, i beg your pardon will take into consideration giving a pardon come Fugate, 76.


Caril Ann Fugate sits in the Scotts Bluff ar Jail in Gering, Nebraska, top top Jan. 30, 1958.


Fugate, who preserved her innocence, was convicted that first-degree murder and also felony killing in the commission of a robbery and spent 17 year in prison prior to being paroled in 1976.

But Lincoln lawyer man Stevens Berry, who is representing Fugate — who now goes by her married name, Caril Ann Clair — claimed she was incorrectly convicted, based upon the testimony of Starkweather, who readjusted his story and implicated her after being informed that she didn’t desire to see him ever again.

“She was railroaded; she to be innocent,” claimed Berry, who co-wrote a book around her case. “They must (give she a pardon) due to the fact that it’s the best thing come do.”

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Clair, who stays in Hillsdale, Michigan, is can not to to visit Tuesday’s meeting, according to the attorney. But, Berry said, she excited and also hopeful the she will get a pardon, which is an official statement of forgiveness, no a explanation of innocence.


Caril Ann Fugate to be 14 and boyfriend Charles Starkweather to be 19 once he murdered 11 people in 1957-58.

In her applications for a pardon, Clair claimed she was organized captive by the 19-year-old Starkweather, who said he to be holding her household hostage and threatened to death them if she didn’t follow his orders. She later on learned the he had already killed her mother, stepfather and baby half sister, who bodies had actually been hidden by Starkweather.

But approximately Lincoln and Nebraska, there space plenty of people who believe that Clair to be guilty and should still be in prison.

One previous prosecutor, Paul Douglas, called The World-Herald prior to he died that Clair had plenty of chances to escape however didn’t. Plus, that said, she had to recognize that her family members was dead since the pockets of a coat she to be wearing when apprehended consisted of newspaper clippings about the slayings.


Charles Starkweather, right, leaves the courthouse ~ being uncovered guilty of murder on might 23, 1958.


Berry claimed he’s “embarrassed” because that his state as soon as he hears civilization say Clair should have sat ~ above Starkweather’s lap as soon as he was executed in the electrical chair in 1959.

Ward, who wrote a novel partly based upon the Starkweather murders, claimed she started reconsidering she initial belief that Clair was involved in the killing after showing up on a 2016 true crime show. She claimed she’s read all the court transcripts created by the case, checked out every crime scene and even met Clair, compiling much more than 1,000 pages that notes. It convinced her the Clair was, in fact, innocent.

Ward and also Berry claimed it’s not clear even if it is the Pardons plank — which consists of Gov. Pete Ricketts, Attorney general Doug Peterson and also Secretary of State Bob Evnen — will allow her come testify. Therefore they made your pleas come a roomful of reporters Monday.

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Ward said that also if world don’t think that Clair was totally innocent, she tho warrants a pardon because that the sake of “redemption and grace.” Ward said her father, who was 14 as soon as his parents were killed, and also other members that her family members support the giving of a pardon.

“There can still it is in something an excellent that comes the end of this awful story,” she said. “I have actually a daughter, and also I want to phone call her the the human being finally believed the story that a young girl.”