in ‘82 murder 
denied parole

The Colorado State Parole Board rejected parole for a 58-year-old man jailed for three decades in connection with the stabbing death of his sister-in-law.

James Drake will have another parole hearing next March. The decision, however, doesn’t affect his chance to move to a Durango halfway house should space come open for him, the head of the community corrections program in La Plata County said.

Drake was found guilty as an accomplice in the 1982 killing of Regina Drake, who suffered multiple stab wounds while she slept in her Grand Junction apartment with her three young sons. He was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole as a result of being judged a habitual criminal.

Prosecutors said James killed Regina on Dec. 16, 1982, as part of a contract killing for insurance money set up by his brother and Regina’s husband, Richard Drake. Richard Drake was sentenced to death, but his sentence was changed to life after the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional.  His bid for parole in February was rejected.

Relatives of Regina Forrest Drake have adamantly opposed his parole, contending that he committed the murder at his brother’s behest.

James Drake, however, never was convicted of murder and by now has served his time, his attorney, David Eisner, said in calling for his parole.

Relatives who live near Durango are fearful of running into Drake should he be released to community corrections in Durango, said Regina’s brother, Rick Forrest.


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