'Phantom' Killer to remain on home arrest - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

'Phantom' Killer to remain on home arrest

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency rejected a request from a convicted child killer to loosen terms of his home arrest.

William Huff was released from prison two years ago, after serving 48 years. He pleaded guilty to murdering two young girls in 1967.

[RELATED: CBS 5 Investigates The Phantom Killer]

The case gained some national attention because then 16-year-old Huff had written a letter to the police chief, threatening another victim and referring to himself as "The Phantom."

"I called myself the Phantom. Those were the mechanisms of a crazy 16-year-old boy," said Huff, as he addressed the clemency board.

[SLIDESHOW: The Phantom Killer]

"I apologize for everything from the bottom of my heart," said Huff.

But not everyone in the audience at the hearing believed him.

[RELATED: 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson]

"Two little girls bet their lives on him being a good person and they lost that," said Melisa Haines, whose aunt, Janelle, was one of Huff's victims. Cindy Clelland was the second victim.

"My aunt was not only hit over the head with a rock, but she was killed in the same manner that Cindy was killed, which was eviscerated, disemboweled, strangled, stabbed. Their shorts were removed," said Haines, holding back tears.

[WATCH PART I: The Phantom strikes]

Huff was granted early release from prison in January of 2016. Since then, he has lived in Tucson and Pinal County. The state released him without warning the residents of the neighborhood where he was placed.

CBS 5 Investigates first reported this story last April. Huff has not violated any of the terms of his release, according to his parole officer.

[WATCH PART II: Confronting a killer]

Huff's relatives told the clemency board they believe he's changed.

"William is two different people. The one I knew in 1966 and the one I know now," said Charles Huff, who is William's older brother.

[WATCH PART III: Changing the law]

"The man I know now, especially, is a good man," said Huff's sister.

In the end, the board voted to keep Huff's status unchanged. He is on home arrest, wearing an ankle GPS monitor and must regularly check in with his parole officer.

[WATCH PART IV: What's next?]

It is not the result the victims' families were hoping for, but they are relieved that Huff's terms of release were not loosened.

"They were not able to do what we were hoping to do. But I needed them to understand that there is a side to this other than the paroled side. There was the victims' side as well," said Haines.

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Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award, and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. In October 2016, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School at Purdue University Global. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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