02/02/07 — Duplin murderer is up for parole

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Duplin murderer is up for parole

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 2, 2007 1:47 PM

A Duplin County man convicted of a 1994 murder is being considered for participation in the state's Mutual Agreement Parole Program.

Facing trial for the death of Georgia May Newkirk of Magnolia, William Houston Smith pleaded guilty to second degree murder in March 1995. He was sentenced to life in prison.

However, because his crime was committed before North Carolina's current sentencing laws took effect, he became eligible for parole in March 2004. The Structured Sentencing regulations only eliminated parole for crimes committed on or after Oct. 1, 1994.

The N.C. Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission has referred Smith's case to the state Division of Prisons to consider entry into MAPP.

MAPP, the Mutual Agreement Parole Program, is a scholastic and vocational program that provides structured activities and allows prisoners to participate in community-based programs. It is a three-way agreement between the parole commission, the Division of Prisons and the offender.

Prisoners must meet certain criteria before being considered for the program and must adhere to case-specific stipulations during the program in order to ultimately be considered for parole.

Mary Harrop, an administrative officer with the parole commission, said that most of the time, if an inmate is approved for the program, they end up being paroled.

"They haven't quite made it to that point yet, but he is being reviewed to participate in the MAPP program," she said. "If an inmate is placed on MAPP, a future parole date is set.

"If he does well, then most of the time that happens. Generally speaking, people on the MAPP program finish through until the date of their parole release."