We Remember Eric
YOU Can Help!

What happened on August 13, 1986...and since.

This past August it was 31 years since Eric was brutally murdered by Jacob Wideman. Eric and Wideman, along with two other boys and a counselor, were on a camp trip out West. At a motel in Flagstaff, Arizona, in the middle of the night while Eric was asleep, Wideman took a hunting knife he had purchased and stabbed Eric violently twice in the chest.

According to Wideman’s own confession, this random act of violence had no motive, there was no animosity between him and Eric. After he left Eric to die, he fled the motel, stole the rental car the group had been using, forged travelers’ checks, and roamed the country before giving himself up eight days later when he ran out of money. What makes this even more horrific is that it took Eric three hours to bleed to death. If Wideman had simply looked at Eric and felt remorse at all, he could have gotten help and Eric would be alive today.

After two years of legal maneuvering, Wideman pleaded guilty to first degree murder and grand theft. He received a life sentence, which in the state of Arizona meant that he would be eligible for parole in 25 years. Unfortunately, at the time of the sentencing, the law did not provide for a life sentence without any chance of parole. However, the presiding judge made a strong recommendation, on the record, that Wideman never be paroled.

Wideman had his first parole hearing in May 2011. He and his family tried to describe what a changed man he was and that he was filled with remorse. We do not believe that reflects the truth. Wideman was denied parole at that hearing and, between 2012 and 2016, five more times after that.

It is still hard for us to believe, but at the hearing in September 2016, the Board voted 3 to 2 to release Wideman from prison to what is called “home arrest”. This is more restrictive than parole, but they still let him out of prison. He was released to this home arrest in November 2016

All of the three Board members who voted for home arrest are no longer on the Board. It is crucial to insure that the Parole Board, as it is now constituted, understood that Wideman should never have been paroled or given home arrest primarily because of the future violence he would undoubtedly inflict on society once out of the controlled prison environment.

Wideman is self-serving, manipulative and totally without remorse for his horrible act.  With the help of his family and attorneys, he has tried various types of lies and deceptions to convince the Board that he should be released, including unfounded medical diagnoses that supposedly explain his actions when he killed Eric, from which he is now miraculously cured.  They have tried to hide his past actions, clear evidence of sociopathic behavior, by lying about them or denying their existence.

In May of last year, Wideman had another hearing where the Board was to decide whether he should remain on Home Arrest or be released on parole.  We were pleased that this newly constituted Board voted unanimously to keep him on Home Arrest.

In July of last year, Wideman violated the terms of his release and failed to follow a direct order of his parole officer.  He was arrested and sent back to prison.

In August of last year, the Board conducted a Revocation Hearing, where they determine whether the arrest was proper and, if so, what should be done with him.  The Board unanimously voted that the arrest was proper and determined that Wideman should remain in prison.

By law, unfortunately, Wideman is entitled to another parole hearing six months from last August. It is was actually scheduled for May 2nd, but it has been changed to June 14th, 2018.  As in the past, the Board will decide to leave him in prison or grant him home arrest or parole.

As he has said in the past, Wideman wants to have a life on the outside. It is hard to believe, but, after having been married and divorced while in prison, in 2013 Wideman married another woman with two children.  He wants to be out and live with his wife and be a father to her two children…. all things he forever denied Eric.

According to Arizona statute, the Board can parole an inmate if, in its sole discretion, they believe that "there is a substantial probability that the applicant will remain at liberty without violating the law and that the release is in the best interests of the state.”  

We need your help to make sure the board understands that “substantial probability” in Wideman’s case does not exist and he must remain prison to insure the safety of all of us.