'Zeke' Harris's killer denied parole

Jamie Hughes III

The Rhode Island Parole Board on Monday denied parole for Jamie Hughes III, convicted of killing a North Kingstown furniture store owner.

The emotional family of Howard "Zeke" Harris appeared before the board for the sixth time, once again seeking to keep Hughes behind bars.

"Jamie is evil. He has to be accountable," said Kay Cutting, the victim's daughter. "He murdered my dad, Howard "Zeke" Harris, in one of the most heinous crimes in Rhode Island."

Hughes killed the 79-year-old Harris at his Zeke's Exchange furniture store in September 1982.

Harris's family said he had taken the troubled Hughes under his wing years earlier.

They said on that day Hughes came looking for money. He killed Harris with a hammer.

"For less than $50, my grandfather was beaten and tortured beyond recognition by Jamie Hughes and left to die alone on that floor," said Lorie Cutting, a granddaughter of the victim.

"We have a life sentence. We can never have closure," Kay Cutting said.

Harris' family not only talked about the past, but also the present and future if Hughes were to be set free.

"I do not believe a murderer who is capable of something this heinous can be rehabilitated," Kay Cutting said.

"He would be a danger to society and especially my family," said Bethanie Sherman, a granddaughter of the victim.

The board cited the heinous nature of the crime and its impact on the family and the community among its reasons for denying parole.

Hughes is eligible for parole again in three years.