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Early Parole Release Denied For Robert Kulhavy

August 14, 2014, 5:55 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Early Parole Release Denied For Robert Kulhavy

He killed a 22-year-old Nebraska woman near Dell Rapids and admitted to the crime.

On Thursday the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles denied 51-year-old Robert Kulhavy's request for an early release from parole.

Kulhavy killed Brenda Schmidt in 1985 after meeting her at a party in Sioux Falls. After he was in prison he also admitted he raped her.

Kulhavy was paroled in 2006 after serving 20 years of a 60 year sentence. For the last eight years he's been out in the community and because of Thursday's decision he will continue to be supervised for at least another year.

Previous Story: Kulhavy Moves Into New Home (Nov. 17, 2006)

"He's had favorable letters from some of his supporters indicating that he's done well on parole," Board of Pardons and Paroles Chair Kay Nikolas said.

Kulhavy dumped Schmidt's body in the Big Sioux River near Dell Rapids and pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Under South Dakota's new criminal justice initiative which took effect last year, parolees who have one month of good behavior get one month taken off their term. That includes Kulhavy.

Board members said Kulhavy has held down a steady job and has had a clean record during his eight years on parole.

"How many times do we see an inmate who's done 20 years, got out, and keep a perfectly clean record for 8 years?" board member Ken Albers said.

But Schmidt’s sister, Tammy Schmidt, pleaded with the board not to end Kulhavy's parole term early because he brutally killed her sister.

"I just don't think it's right to put him out unsupervised into the community when you know what he's capable of," Schmidt said.

Following the testimony Thursday the board voted unanimously to deny the request to end Kulhavy's parole.

"I think he should do his full time and so that's why I'm making the motion he needs to finish his supervision time," board member Don Hollaway said.

Kulhavy's parole is scheduled to end in April 2016 but if he continues his good behavior the board estimates he will continue earning time and be on parole for about the next 11 months before he's a free man.

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