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Proctorville man waits for answer on judicial release

A Proctorville man's request to be released from prison three years early will have to wait until the judge decides if he has indeed already exhausted his chance for judicial release.

Benjamin Vanover, 28, of 98 County Road 102, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1998 in connection with the manslaughter death of Timothy Mayo. Wednesday he officially asked that he get out of prison early, citing substantial behavior changes.

But Assistant Lawrence County Prosector Charles Cooper presented court records to indicate Vanover was denied judicial release in January 2004 and that was actually the second time he asked for a judicial release hearing. Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown said he would have to examine the information and decide at a later date what should happen now.

"I have a little problem," McCown said. "Usually you have only one bite at the apple."

Vanover's attorney, D.L. McWhorter, said while his client has made some horrible decisions in the past, he has also made substantial progress in dealing with his personal issues while he has been incarcerated.

Vanover has taken numerous classes in anger management and conflict resolution and has obtained his general equivalency diploma (GED).

"I think he realizes he does not want to be a drain on society anymore. He would be in community controlled sanctions," McWhorter said. "It was a horrible thing that happened and I think Mr. Vanover has done the things necessary for judicial release. He wants me to emphasize he is not trying to diminish what happened."

McCown said members of the victim's family have contacted him about Vanover's request and oppose his request for an early release.