Bay County Convict Stays Behind Bars
In 1992, Clay D. Hayward shot and killed Mark R. Schafer, a 19-year-old home on leave from the US army. Then, almost 25 years later on November 14, 2014, the parole board voted to grant Hayward parole. We can only assume that he was thrilled, but many people who were enraged by this turn of events spoke out, and the parole board reversed their decision.
On February 20th, after almost a full year of deliberations and hearings, the Michigan Department of Corrections 10-person parole board voted a second time and this time, chose to deny parole to Hayward. So who exactly was influential in getting the parole board to reconsider their vote? Well, a number of people, starting with Schafer’s family.
Schafer’s mother, his younger sister Lesley LeBrun, and his daughter, Samantha Brunner, who was born a mere 13 days before he was murdered, all spoke at the parole hearing, and they all spoke against Hayward being freed.
LeBrun, who had actively campaigned against Hayward being paroled, appeared with paperwork showing the 1,914 signatures she had collected in an online petition demanding that Hayward remain incarcerated. In her testimony she spoke of her inability to forgive the man who murdered her brother.
Brunner’s testimony was less charged with anger but no less emotional. She spoke of having no memories of her father and her sorrow that he will never be able to walk her down the aisle or have a relationship with his granddaughter.
Cindy Howell, a victim’s rights coordinator from the Bay County Prosecutor’s Office was also present and spoke against paroling Hayward. She also pointed out the letter written by Bay County Prosecutor Kurt C. Asbury who opposed granting Hayward parole at this time, and the motion filed by Asbury’s office, opposing the decision. Michigan Assistant Attorney General Scott Rothermel also spoke at the hearing, claiming that the Attorney General’s Office was not in favor of Hayward being paroled either.
Hayward, who appeared at the hearing in shackles and prison garb, also spoke. He expressed his remorse and explained what had taken place that night from his perspective, saying that he was an angry, combative teen who had cultivated a fearless and macho persona which perceived backing down as weakness.
He explained that he had spent his time in prison working on controlling his anger and had also received an associates degree in science. His intentions, after release, he said, were to continue his education, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and would actively pursue getting a job so as to be a contributing member of society.
Hayward will be up for reconsideration by the parole board in five years.