Families hope hair strands hold answers to triple murder

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

Fifteen years ago, this March, Geneva Claxton and Brandy Ferrier lost their mother, Willa Jean Ferrier, and two others when they were found murdered inside a McCreary County home.

"We just answers. We just want to know what happened, we want to know who's responsible for stripping us of our childhood," said Brandy Ferrier.

John Garland, who is Claxton's father's uncle, was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death for the triple murder. His family still questions if he really was the killer, "Well it angers me that he has spent so much time in there [prison]," said Carol Jackson, Garland's sister.

Garland's attorneys have asked the court to test hair gathered from the crime scene in 1997, the request was finally granted after months of asking. Now, it's the answers that are being put off.

"It's practically the same thing we heard today, is what we heard last month and the month before that," described Geneva Claxton, Willa Jean Ferrier's oldest daughter.

Today, in the courtroom, the only progress made was the defense revealed that only four hair strands are able to be tested by the lab.

"They did nothing," stated a frustrated Jackson, about the evidence and the case, "like they said, they lost a mom, and we have a brother who's gone through hell, so far."

The Defense attorney for John Garland says from here, those hair samples will be compared to Jeff Boswell, one of the murder victims. If it's a match, case closed. If it's not, it raises more questions. Questions these family members want answers to.

"They said, starting out, that it's [the hair samples] consistent with Boswell's hair," recalled Beverly Steele, Garland's sister.

"March will be 15 years, that's a long time to go everyday without answers of why things happened the way they did," added Claxton.

"Why didn't they do this testing in the beginning?" reiterated Jackson.

For now, these family members say they'll just keep coming back to the courthouse, waiting and expecting answers. They may have to wait awhile, the defense attorney says there is no immediate time table for the D.N.A. test, adding that this type of lab work can often take a long time to complete.

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