INDIANAPOLIS — A convicted murderer who recently was released from prison for killing and dismembering a woman in 1986 said the public's outpouring of anger that has forced him to move out of two southern Indiana counties is unwarranted.
Robert Evan Lee, 57, has moved to a motel in an industrial area on the south side of Indianapolis since leaving Jennings County on Oct. 1, nine days after he moved there when two locations in Bloomington wouldn't accept him.
"People are giving me all kinds of grief," Lee told The Indianapolis Star for a story Wednesday. "I've been run out of Bloomington because someone did a lot of screaming and hollering. In Jennings they're saying shoot him, burn him down."
Lee was released from prison on parole Sept. 22 after serving 25 years for the slaying of 31-year-old Ellen Marks of Bloomington, whose internal organs, including her heart, were cut out and whose head and hands were never found.
Lee was sentenced in 1987 to what was then the maximum prison sentence of 60 years. He obtained early release by earning credit for good behavior and obtaining two vocational degrees and two college degrees behind bars.
Lee maintains that he is innocent, and he told the newspaper he will continue trying to get his sentence overturned.
Lee said he's been relying on charity to get by since his release, and that he doubts he'll be able to find work, despite his education. He said the public has no reason to fear him, pulling up his pants to show his electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.
"I'm being watched very closely," Lee said. "They (the state) know my every move."
Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison said parolees are released to the county of their conviction because that is where their legal paperwork is and often they have relatives nearby to help them transition to life outside prison.
Garrison said it is rare for parolees to be forced from communities and that the attention paid to Lee has been counterproductive.
"The way he has been hounded has caused disruption after disruption in what should be the purpose of his parole, which is to re-integrate him into society," Garrison said. "In the eyes of the law he has fulfilled his sentence to society, but some people don't see it that way."
Janet Greenblatt, who works for the Victims Offender Reconciliation Program in Monroe County, said many people in Bloomington are still upset about the brutality of Marks' death.
"This is a small community, and it would be hard for him to live anywhere without everyone knowing where," Greenblatt said. "That could be a problem because a lot of people think he didn't pay enough for his crime."