Convicted Folly Beach killer denied parole

Victim's sister fighting release of Folly Beach killer Richard Valenti

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A former sailor who hanged two teenage girls on Folly Beach and watched them die has been denied parole.

It was the 18th parole hearing scheduled for Richard Valenti, 71, who is serving two life sentences for the 1973 murders of 14-year-old Sherri Clark and 13-year-old Alexis Latimer.

Earlier this week, 41 years after the crimes, Paula Clark Marion, who still has the newspaper clippings to remind her of her sister's brutal murder, testified at Valenti's parole hearing, carrying on a fight her mother had waged since Valenti's first chance for parole.

Marion was eight years old when the murders happened. Her mother, Janis Clark, passed away five years ago.

"He tied nooses around their necks and kicked the chair out from underneath them and watched them hang from a shower stall,” Marion said.

The girls' bodies were found ten months later, buried in shallow graves on the beach.

Valenti was convicted and sentenced to two life terms. He confessed to killing a third teen, Earline Bunch, but never went to trial for that crime. At the time, the law required that Valenti serve only ten years in prison before being eligible for parole.

“The way it is today, we can't allow people to walk free when they commit such horrific and vicious crimes,” Marion said.

"He needs to stay where he is and finish out his sentence. My sister was not able to get up out of the grave and I don't think he should be able to get out of prison and walk away,” Marion said.

If she ever had a chance for a face to face meeting with her sister's killer, Marion would have one question for him.

"Why did you do this? Why did you make these girls suffer like this?"

Valenti also was charged with attacking five more young women, but never went to trial on those charges. He will be up for parole again in two years.

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