Reporting Marissa Bailey
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HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (CBS) – A convicted killer was let out of a Florida prison Tuesday, 10 years earlier than expected. The man he murdered was a Chicago native his parents said they’re shocked and angry to hear the news of the killer’s release.
CBS 2′s Marissa Bailey spoke with the parents about their emotional day.
David Shotkoski was at the high point of his life in 1995 – pitching for the Atlanta Braves, and recently married with a new baby. But all that changed on a seemingly innocent evening jog during spring training in March 1995.
“I wouldn’t wish anybody to go through what we’re going through,” his father Clarence Shotkoski said in 1995.
Neal Douglas Evans, of Florida, told police he shot and killed David Shotkoski during an attempted robbery. Evans was sentenced to 27 years in prison, but was released after 17 years behind bars when he was granted parole.
Shotkoski’s mother Clover Shotkoski said she and her husband thought it was a mistake when they heard Evans was a free man.
“Oh we had to. We both looked at each other and we said, ‘Wait a minute, it was supposed to be 10 more years before he could get out,” she said.
In a letter addressed to the Shotkoskis at their Hoffman Estates home, the state of Florida explained that Evans had accrued enough “good behavior” days to knock 10 years off his sentence. The news ripped open a wound for the couple – 10 years early.
“It’s not fair. It’s not fair,” Clarence said.
“He’s still a young man. To get out now, he can still enjoy a lot more of his life,” Clover said.
“He gets to go home to a family, with open arms, after 17 years,” David’s sister, Jill Shotkoski said. “My family, we get to go and hug a gravestone. That’s what we get, and that’s the part I don’t understand.”
Despite the frustration, memories of the Shotkoski family’s only son are all around their lifelong home – baseballs from games he pitched; his official team photograph; and, in the heart of Cubs and Sox country, an Atlanta Braves flag waves on their front lawn, for a son who will never come home.
“It’s been difficult, because I miss my son very much,” Clarence said.
Evans had prior drug, gun, and robbery convictions before being arrested for murder.
Florida officials told the Shotkoskis that filing a grievance about Evans’ early release was not an option, and there was nothing they could do to stop him from going free.