Saturday, April 10, 2021

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Triple murderer, kidnapper denied parole 

Despite recent California legislation favoring parole for older inmates, triple murderer John Wayne Card won’t be getting out of prison, yet.  

Card, 72, killed three members of a prominent Willows family in 1974 before kidnapping a Durham woman and her two young children and leaving them chained to a tree in the woods west of Williams.

He is currently housed at Corcoran State Prison, with parole once again being denied on Nov. 17. 

Card’s motive for the killing spree was robbery, according to the jury that sentenced him to death in 1975 for killing veterinarian, Dr. Clayton Griffiths, and his 13-year-old adopted daughter Lisa Ann, at their home in Willows. 

His death sentence, however, was commuted to life in prison when the California Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that the death penalty violated the California Constitution. 

After strangling Dr. Griffiths and daughter in their yard, Card then kidnapped Griffiths’ wife, Nancy, and 22-year-old son, Ray, who managed to escape near Durham, in Butte County, where Nancy’s body was later found shot to death. 

Card then abandoned Griffiths’ car at a farm house and kidnapped Kay Skillen and her two children, Wesley, 13, and Debbie, 12. 

Card then drove Skillen’s car through Nevada and Utah, with the three hostages in tow, in an effort to evade law enforcement, before returning with them to California. 

He eventually left Skillen and her two children chained to a tree in the wilderness west of Williams, but the three managed to escape their bonds and walk to a forest ranger station. 

Card was captured by the FBI near Truckee a week after the murders. 

Glenn County Deputy District Attorney Michael Coffrey and eight members of the Griffiths and Skillen families attended Card’s parole hearing, via video conference. 

While Card was denied parole for three more years, the new elder legislation will again allow the aging murderer another opportunity for release in 18 months.

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