PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Reformed or a killer waiting to strike again? Two very different views of the man who killed 7-year-old Ashley Carlson as he tries to get out of the prison he was never supposed to leave.

Patrick Harned, whose name was changed to Jessie Payne-Rana while in prison, was 16 when he killed Ashley Carlson in Astoria in 1999 and he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

24 years later, he is perhaps the most infamous killer getting a chance to convince the parole board to set him free after former governor Kate Brown used her commutation powers to give dozens of violent offenders who committed their crimes as kids the opportunity to convince the parole board their minds have matured and they’re no longer a danger.

In the online hearing, Ashley Carlson’s mother told the parole board about the unexpected pain this hearing is causing.

“I can’t stand you, what you did to my family,” said Tessa Carlson. “Every February it’s awful for everybody. I was at a place where I was at peace with this. She’s at rest.”

In February of 1999, Ashley went with Patrick Harned to his Astoria home where he would sometimes babysit her.

On Wednesday, her mother had to listen again to how he choked her with his hands, then with a belt, hid her body in a box in the basement under floorboards, later pulled her back out and thought about sexually abusing her corpse.

“What do you think it’s been like for them over these years?” parole board member Kelly Kuklenski asked Jessie Payne-Rana.

“It’s been painful,” said Payne Rana. “They struggle with it. It’s pain that will never go away.”

Now 40 years old, Rana told the board he’s learned empathy and coping tools while in prison to deal with the anger that exploded inside him the day he killed Ashley.

Parole board records show Payne-Rana was sexually abused by male family members as a young child before he was kicked out of the home and was forced to live with a registered child sex offender where he was raped as a teenager. At 16, he had the mental capacity of a third-grader.

No one seems to deny the system, including child protective service failed him.

“Stephen King could not write a book that described the environment that he was in,” said Joe Colistro, a retired lead detective who investigated the original case.

Colistro called the case “one of the most horrendous crimes” he ever investigated.

Recently, two psychologists determined Payne-Rana has a moderate to high risk of re-offending.

Two people who have worked with him in prison testified he’s made drastic improvements to his behavior in the last couple of years after dozens of disciplinary reports, including threats to kill staff.

“He showed me a lot of maturity and a lot of growth,” said Department of Corrections Lt. Don Harris.

“Whatever happens after today’s hearing, I want you to know that you are absolutely on a far better path and track than 3 years ago,” said John Bailey, Parole Board Member.

But those who investigated Payne-Rana do not think the murder was an impulsive act.

“I did not see any remorse,” said Colistro. “My impression throughout this and at the end of it, is that Patrick Harned is a serial killer who got caught with his first victim.”

Despite the possibility of freedom, Payne-Rana told the parole board that no matter what he is forced to live with the pain he has caused.

“Even if I’m free, I’m still somewhat in prison because I took Ashley’s life, I hurt Ashley’s family, people who cared about her, it’s never going to go away. I have to live with this, and this hurt, till the day I die,” said Payne-Rana.

Payne-Rana and his lawyer argued he would do even better outside of prison where there are more resources to help him with his diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

Parole board members seemed concerned about his history of discipline inside the prison system.

The former district attorney for Clatsop County who prosecuted Harned noted that his improved behavior came about the same time Kate Brown announced her commutation order.

Their decision could come as early as next week.