One of the men convicted over the notorious Snowtown murders could be released from jail months earlier than expected.
Mark Ray Haydon was jailed for 25 years for his role in covering up the “bodies in the barrels” killings.
His sentence is due to finish in May, however the South Australian Parole Board is currently considering whether to release him earlier.
If he is freed sooner, Haydon would be subject to supervision and other parole conditions. If he serves his full sentence, he won’t be monitored.
The release order – if granted – will mean the 65-year-old could be out of jail within weeks.
The Parole Board is meeting again next week to discuss the case. It may not make a decision on the day, but a ruling is still expected to the handed down next week.
Meantime, the state government is also considering its options if Haydon is released.
“What the government has been doing is exploring a suite of options at our disposal, to see how we might confront that risk to the community, to the extent that there is one,” Premier Peter Malinauskas said today.
One of those options may be to get a court order that Haydon poses an ongoing risk to the community, which would allow them to keep him under supervision if the Parole Board cannot.
The Snowtown murders are Australia’s worst serial killings, and Haydon was one of four people arrested in 1999 when the bodies of some of the 11 victims were found in barrels, in a disused bank vault, in the state’s mid-north.
Those barrels had also for a time been stored at Haydon’s northern Adelaide home, and among the victims was his own wife.
Haydon was jailed for at least 18 years for assisting John Bunting and Robert Wagner in seven of the 11 killings.