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FAMILY DIVIDED: Parole or No Parole For Murderer

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A metro family is divided over where convicted teenage murderer Kristina Fetters should spend her last days.  Her mother wants her to die a free woman.

“To give her her last few moments of joy and peace.  I think could be the best thing that she could receive,” says mom, Denise Fetters.

Other family members believe she should stay behind bars.

“I just don't feel bad for Krissy for where she's at.  She put herself there,” says Shanna Sickles, Fetters’ cousin.

Sickles say growing up, all the cousins were close to their "spitfire" of an Aunt, 73-year-old Arlene Klehm.

“Arlene was just a tiny framed, little woman that would tell you exactly where to go and how you could get there,” says Sickles.

Her murder devastated the family.  As did having one of their own be the killer.  Now, going on 18 years into her life sentence, Fetters is dying of cancer.

Last week, a Polk County Judge said Fetters has “rehabilitated and redeemed herself” and recommended that she be immediately released from custody citing her “poor health and prognosis”.  Her case now goes before the Iowa Parole Board.

“I just sit in here and cry out loud and I pray to Jesus you know that she will have some kind of peace in this,” says Fetters.

While her mother prays that her daughter can spend her last days away from prison, Fetters’ cousin says she is the only one.

“She didn't give my Aunt Arlene the opportunity to die with her loved ones,” says Sickles,  “Bottom line, if you get life in prison without the possibility of parole, it's life.”

The next parole hearing is scheduled for December 5th.  Fetters’ mother is asking the board to call an emergency meeting because of her daughter's declining health.


  • Rebecca Hergert

    My husband, a native from the Amana’s, a tax-payer, thinks she should be released early.
    I dis-agree with him, UNTIL I SAW THE VIDEO TONIGHT!!

    I thought the woman (Sickles) they interview has some issue’s that need to be dealt with.

    She seems bitter, resentment, no compassion, no forgiveness, empty hallow of a shell of a woman.

    I don’t know what the percentage is for men/women dying of cancer in our Iowa prisons.
    Maybe she can tell us, since she knows all the answers here!!
    And shooting off her mouth!!

    • Shanna

      My Aunt Arlene Klem (crandell) and My grandfather Winston Crandell were very close. My Aunt had just lost her husband due to Cancer my grandfather whom also had Colon cancer had buried my grandma years earlier. I spent so many weekends with my Aunt and Grandparents togethre that I couldn’t even count. krissy was at Arlene’s alot, I know her well as we all grew up together. Krissy is the same age as my sister and even as cousins went to school together. I wish Krissy nothing but health and rehabilitation. I’m saddened to hear that after all of these years threw many many attempts to be transeferd or released that it has come to this. My family has suffered enough. The state decided life, not us. I don’t agree w a life sentance for a 14 year old. All I tried to do speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. The heartache and pain they endured. I’m far from heartless or compasionate. I know the krissy I grew up with. I know how she she slapped my Aunt, robbed her, hit her etc all before finally murdering her. God Bless Krissy and I will continue to speak on behalf of my Aunt Arlene. Shanna Sickles

    • Tracy

      In regards to the woman who left the first comment. I’m sorry but who is shooting off at the mouth? Its those type of ignorant responses that make me shake my head. I see no reason for such a rude response. Your talking about her being judgmental and what are you doing? Shanna didnt say anything about this situation thats was even half as judgmental as you just were to her. Try to just stick to the issue and keep the gloves up. You aren’t part of this family dont judge till you walked in someone else’s shoes. What’s wrong with someone reminding everyone who the REAL victim is here. Oh and keep paying your taxes. Your cruel…..

  • Janine

    I don’t understand why that woman’s bitterness changed your mind about your opinion of release or no release. It has nothing to do with her. When one is sentenced to “life” in prison, it doesn’t come with an exemption for terminal cancer or any other terminal illness. Duh, the sentence itself is terminal!! I have compassion, especially given the age she was at the time of her crime. But! It was a very brutal murder, which tends to make me not so inclined to think she should be given any forgiveness by the legal system. Human forgiveness, I do believe in, and it is something you have to have for peace within yourself. However, the legal system has little room for forgiveness of criminals, and that’s the way it needs to be for the type of crime this person committed. Other lifers don’t get sent home near the end of their life. Why, because her end of life is by cancer, should she? I don’t even understand why this is being considered. I do think the mother and any other family member who would like to, and it doesn’t sound like there would be any, should be allowed to be with her during her end times. THAT is probably more than the other lifers get! But that is where my compassion comes in. And that is as far as it goes. I feel for the mother, but she knew it was a life situation, Easy? Oh NO! One of the hardest things a parent ever has to go through! Ranks right up there with knowing your child brutally murdered a family member! Pure hell!

  • MaryCannon Derisory Apodaca

    It breaks my heart that this isn’t being looked at from the Mother’s point of view. SHe knows what her child did. She suffered the loss of the much loved Aunt, AND the loss of her daughter. The girl was 15, and had been through very traumatic emotional abuse which no doubt twisted her mind. Yes she killed. No, no one needs to forget or forgive her for that, but to deny this Mother the opportunity to bring her child home to be able to tend to her through her death is certainly not a very Christian way of thinking. Stop and consider if this was YOUR child.

    I see no reason for a terminally ill inmate whose death is eminent, not to be released to his or her family to care for them. If of course it is the desire of a family member to take full responsibility for the inmate in providing shelter and care. What can it possibly hurt?
    Maybe there should be some limitations as to who can request a release of this type. Parent, sibling, spouse, … If the individual is able to provide transport and show where the inmate will be cared for why not?

    It isn’t so much about the inmate as it is those who love that person and want to be with them in their final hours.

    • Joshua Isley (@SavJosh)

      Not a very Christian way of thinking? You havent read much of your Bible have you? If we were forgiven for our sins just because we were dying… everyone would go to heaven… Your logic makes zero sense. There is compassion, and then there is justice. You can love someone and forgive them all you want, but the justice will come no matter what if they dont live right.

    • Mel

      She did what she did, took a life, of a family member no less. If she is truly changed and repents she should have no problem staying where she is until her dying day to pay for what she did. I feel for her mother and family but she still should have to carry out her sentence.

    • Janine

      It would break every mothers heart to look at it from a mothers point of view. But this is not about the mother! It is about a convicted murderer who was sentenced to life in prison for her crime. Period! I’m sure it also broke her mothers heart when her daughter brutally killed her family member and broke her heart again when she went to prison for life. But the family member is still dead, and she went to prison anyway. Why? That’s the way the law works. Oh, and you can be a Christian and still support the law. I’m a Christian and I’m not in favor of releasing convicted murderers.

      • billy bob

        God is the final judge, not you. The Lord will judge you the same way you judge others. The lady was a child when she committed this heinous crime.

      • MaryCannon Derisory Apodaca

        Kristina Fetters, convicted murderer …. Yes, that is true, but why aren’t we hearing the whole story…
        Kristina Fetters, a 13 year old girl whose life was stolen from her when she was kidnapped and raped… A child who ended up in a facility for troubled teens… who escaped and in a rage killed her aunt…
        Apparently no one was providing the services this child needed to deal with all that happened to her. All too often children with deep emotional issues are dumped into the system because the family hasn’t the means to provide the care the child needs.
        I cannot understand how her life altering experiences were not considered in her trial. WHO was it that NEEDED to make a name for her/himself in convicting a child of first degree murder?

  • Janine

    The whole situation has been heartbreaking from the very beginning, every brutal murder is. That does not change the fact that we have consequences for our actions and unfortunately, when we make the decision to do something so horrific, it affects many others. Let the mother be with her daughter – yes. Let the daughter out because she has cancer – no. I’m guessing most murderers have mothers suffering because of the actions their child. Sad indeed. But that sadness cannot be the reason for release, from the consequences of those actions.

    • MaryCannon Derisory Apodaca

      There is no way a prison can or will accommodate a parent inside the facility to sit with their child. Won’t happen. If a family member requests a release where imminent death is the situation, then that person or family is taking over the responsibility of care and funeral. It seem to be of benefit to the taxpayer. Since $$$$$ speak louder than words any more, and seems to guide the Christian spirit maybe THAT will shake some of you loose. WHAT is it that bothers you so much about a Mother wanting to bring her child home to die? DO ANY of your people have children? Would you NOT make every effort to bring your own child home. WHERE is the Christian compassion? And I would bet even the feisty Aunt would be right there fighting with the Mom to bring that girl home.

  • Janet Fleming

    Kristine’s cousin apparently hasn’t seen her in many many years. The child that did this horrendous crime against her aunt is not the young woman I met and knew as Keba while incarcerated at ICIW. She was kind, gentle, helpful and a great role model. What everyone seems to not consider is the courts have ruled that a teen offender can’t be sentenced to life without parole. She has done 20 years and has served her sentence. Let her be free not because she is dying from cancer but because she has served her sentence and is rehabilitated. Her cousin sounds like a bitter person who needs to learn how to forgive.

    • Deb

      I was wondering why hee sentence hadn’t been reduced when the Supreme Court ruled that teens could not be sentenced to life with out parole. I believe the right thing to do is to parole her and send her home but not because it’s going to save tax dollars. This state is going to have to pick up her hospice care. Where else would she get insurance stepping out of prison day one? When you look at that age she was when she offended and all the circumstances surrounding The reason she offended She never should have received life without parole in the first place. May God wrap this family in love and peace No matter what the decision is

  • Mike Cee

    I really don’t care if she is now a “model” prisoner-she is also a vicious murderer. The simple fact is that she was given a life sentence, without the possibility of parole. If her life ends at 30, if her life ends at 50, or if her life ends at 80 is irrelevant-she’s in there until her life is over. She was incarcerated as both punishment and to remove an evil blight from society and she should serve her complete sentence.

    I hope others both inside and outside her family grasp the amount of pain and suffering her actions have placed on only on herself, but also her family. Perhaps seeing her story will give someone else a moment’s pause before they commit a crime.

  • Tracy

    In regards to the woman who left the first comment. I’m sorry but who is shooting off at the mouth? Its those type of ignorant responses that make me shake my head. I see no reason for such a rude response. Your talking about her being judgmental and what are you doing? Shanna didnt say anything about this situation thats was even half as judgmental as you just were to her. Try to just stick to the issue and keep the gloves up. You aren’t part of this family dont judge till you walked in someone else’s shoes. What’s wrong with someone reminding everyone who the REAL victim is here. Oh and keep paying your taxes. Your cruel…..

  • Beth

    Life without parole, from our courts, means just that! Seems to me that if you aren’t comfortable with that, then you should become proactive in changing the law! If your uncomfortable with her sentence, then work to make a change! As far as I know, in this country, the law doesn’t make a life sentence without parole change just because someone has a terminal illness and is going to die in prison! I thought that all prisoners that were sentenced to life…died in prison.j

  • Ashley

    I have to say what is the difference between an older person going to prison for life, but her getting away with it just because she is dying. What would law enforcement be showing to every other criminal out there that are dying and family want them to die at home? They are just opening the door to numerous of criminals’ family members to come forward when they get deathly sick! There are people that dont get sentenced for years after committing crimes and they have to die there why shouldnt she?!? My personal opinion they will be hurting themselves by letting her out because they are going to have so many other family members start coming forward~they may also want their family to die at home!!!


    • MaryCannon Derisory Apodaca

      I keep asking and no one responds.. WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR CHILD?

      Why not allow her family to care for her in her last days/hours of life?
      The terminal inmate isn’t gonna enjoy any freedom.

      REALLY? Yeah REALLY….. THIS is about the family not the inmate.
      Are you so insensitive you would deny this Mother the opportunity to have her child in her care when she takes her final breath?

      I support the idea of returning terminally ill patients to the families(If the family requests it), that they may be with them in their final moments.

      I cannot believe the lack of compassion for this woman’s Mother that I see posted here.

      • Jesse

        To your question you keep asking everyone when they are obviously ignoring you. If it was my child I w
        ould hang them. Like back in the good ol days. There you got your answer

  • minnie

    She needs to stay in prison she tortured the poor woman hit he with a cast iron skillet in the head then stabbed her cmon she knew what was right from wrong she should stay in prison and finish her life sentence

  • SMDH

    She should get out. Point. Period. Blank. If child molesters and rapists get out before she does then that messed up. Id rather take a life than touch a child. You all need to focus on that area instead of a terminally ill inmate who’s family just wants to see them in their last days of dying. I highly doubt that if she gets out she is going to be going around slaying the whole city Des Moines. I mean come on people. How ignorant are you. Yes she took a life. She served. Now she is going to die anyways. Punishment enough. Believe it or not. People can be rehabilitated. You can argue with me all you want but that isn’t gonna get you anywhere because I do not give one Sh*t about any of your opinions. No one on this board matters. The only reason I posted is because most of all of your opinions are dumb. They are about as useful as an empty carton of milk and a full bowl of cereal.

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