Aurora College killer released
In 1982, Vernon Gayle Briner agreed to be interviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times for a story about the lack of resources available to prisoners convicted of sex crimes.
At the time, Briner had already served five years in prison for the rape and murder of a young mother. He was in a special rehabilitative prison program. For the first time, he felt empathy for his victim’s children, he said. But he did not feel confident about being released.
“I’m working toward getting to where I could go home,” he said in 1982. “But with some of the attitudes I have right now, I’m sure (another attack) would happen. I’m not capable of dealing with females yet. ... I get frustrated very easily.”
Thirty years after he doubted his readiness, Briner was sent home. On July 15, Briner was paroled from the Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mount Sterling. When reached at his home in Indiana on Thursday, the 56-year-old said he has changed.
“Put simply, I’m not the smart-ass kid that I was,” he said. “I’m an old man.” started looking at schools for her children, Walsh was disturbed. She felt the West Virginia teachers couldn’t or wouldn’t help her kids.
The experience inspired her to return to Illinois and Aurora College, where her father was chairman of the history department. The plan was to get her teaching degree, then return to West Virginia, where she would teach and her husband, Bob, would be a social worker.
Walsh moved in with her parents, where she’d have help with her 3-year-old son, Gabriel, and 1-yearold daughter, Rebekah. She threw herself into school. She was creative, enthusiastic and a natural with kids.
Walsh was a straight-A student. She volunteered at a local school. She wrote a children’s book of poems. And she worked a 10 p.m.to-6 a.m. shift as a security guard on the campus.
It was the same shift that an awkward young freshman named Vernon Briner worked.