Victim's family raises serious allegations about release of convicted murderer

The Arizona State Board of Executive Clemency has rejected a convicted murder’s request for parole and signaled concern about a previous decision that released the inmate on home arrest.  

In a unanimous 3-0 vote, board members said they were unwilling to grant Jacob Wideman full parole for a brutal and unexplained murder he committed in 1986.

“We need more time to monitor Mr. Wideman’s transition,” said board member Louis Quinonez.

In addition to seeking parole, Wideman also requested permission to drive a car and have contact with children. Neither were granted.

During the hearing, members said they felt a September board decision that allowed Wideman to be released from prison on home arrest was “lenient.”  The current Clemency Board is almost entirely different from the board that made the decision last year.

On August 16, 1986, Wideman murdered Eric Kane in his sleep. He stabbed Kane in the chest twice and left him to bleed to death.

The murder was unprovoked. There was no motive. Wideman would later say the crime was “the result of the buildup of a lot of emotions,” according to media reports.  Both Wideman and Kane were 16-years-old, staying in the same Flagstaff motel room while on a summer camp trip.

A judge sentenced Wideman to life in prison and recommended that he never be released.

The Kane family has repeatedly challeneged Wideman’s requests to get out of prison. At this week’s parole hearing, Sandy Kane, Eric’s father, raised a series of allegations against the Department of Corrections and Wideman related to his home arrest.

He demanded the state conduct an investigation.

“Knowing the real Jacob Wideman to be a deceptive lying manipulator, I am confident the investigation would show he has violated his release conditions and show he needs to go back to prison where he belong,” Kane said.

Kane was upset when he recently learned Wideman was living in his own apartment. At the previous board hearing, members said they were willing to release Wideman because he would be going into a halfway house with supervision and a strict structure of work and therapy.

After 30 years in prison, Wideman spent a few months in a halfway house called Reborn Assistance before his parole officer let him move into a north Phoenix apartment.

Kane criticized the parole officers for failing to notify his family of the changes and answer questions - something he said victims are entitled to.

The family also wants the Department of Corrections to review data for Wideman’s GPS ankle monitor.

In a statement, corrections officials said, “Mr. Kane’s concerns were taken seriously by the Department. We have apologized to him and appropriate corrective action is being taken.”

After the hearing, Wideman declined to comment on the board’s decision and denied that he has violated any release conditions or laws.

ABC15 has been following Wideman’s case for the past year.

In a 2016 investigation, ABC15 exposed that Wideman had married two psychologists, who both treated him in the prison system.  

His current wife is Dr. Marta DeSoto, who ABC15 discovered had a lucrative contract with the Arizona Department of Child Safety. She’s been paid more than $400,000 in the past two years to evaluate parents.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR MARRIAGE

DeSoto and Wideman’s relationship began in 2007. They were married in 2013. DeSoto has testified several times to get Wideman released and move him into her home with her two children against the wishes of the biological father, court records show.

After ABC15 notified state officials about DeSoto’s marriage to Wideman, Arizona immediately terminated her contract. A spokesman for Governor Doug Ducey thanked the station, saying the case “defied common sense.”

 

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dbiscobing@abc15.com

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