(CBS) – A man who was sentenced to death for killing a Gary, Ind. police officer is now about to walk free.
Lt. George Yaros was 57 and nearing retirement when he was killed in the line of duty in 1981.
Yaros was responding to a bank robbery. He was shot as robbers escaped out the back, guns blazing. As the World War II veteran lay wounded, prosecutors and witnesses said one robber, Rufus Lee Averhart, stopped and fired the fatal shot into the officer’s chest.
His son later saw his dad at the hospital.
“Sometimes I think I wish I wouldn’t have seen it, because I think about it sometimes,” Tim Yaros says. “Other times, I say I’m glad I saw it, because I know what he did to my dad.”
Averhart, who changed his name to Zolo Azania in prison, has been behind bars since. He denies the crime, despite two convictions and death sentences. But after a series of appeals and, ultimately, a plea deal, the Yaros family is preparing for him to walk out of prison Monday.
Justice, says Tim’s wife, not served.
The family does not buy Azania’s claim he’s changed. They note he killed another man before the 1981 murder.
The Yaroses say they’ve been told the soon-to-be-released convict plans to live in Gary, about 20 minutes from where they live now.
Azania’s attorney did not return calls seeking comment. When he walks next week, he will have served 35 years of a 74-year sentence.