Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct Summers’ initial prison sentence.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Another member of the infamous group of teen killers, The Redmond 5, appeared in front of the Oregon Parole Board on Wednesday in hopes to receive early release after initially being sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Ashley Summers was 15 years old when she and four others were convicted of brutally beating and murdering Barbara Thomas in her central Oregon home on March 26, 2001.
Summers, now 37, is up for parole after former Governor Kate Brown granted dozens of violent inmates who were convicted as juveniles the opportunity to go before the parole board and try to convince the panel they are rehabilitated and should be released early — three members of the Redmond 5 have already been granted early release.
Summers told the board she succumbed to peer pressure and groupthink.
“I didn’t want them to be mad at me. Part of me felt like it wasn’t real,” she said. “I would like to express how sorry I am to Mrs. Thomas’ family and friends for the unimaginable pain that Mrs. Thomas’ murder has caused.”
Summers received her cosmetology degree in prison and hasn’t had a disciplinary infraction. Although the DA’s Office argued that Summers should serve the full 25-year sentence, prosecutors took notice of her remorse.
“That’s strikingly different than the co-defendants, and I wanted to recognize that and I’m sure the board saw that as well,” said Darryl Nakahira, Deschutes County Deputy.
Summers father, Jim, said his daughter would live with him if she is released.
“If she is recognized in the community I think that’s going to be an issue, but you know I’m hoping that people will give her a chance,” he said.
The others in the Redmond 5
Justin Link got out of prison on April 28, which is about 8 years early on a sentence of 30 years to life.
Seth Koch will get out of prison in mid-June after being granted early release by the Oregon Parole Board in late-April.
Lucretia Karle was released from prison 4 years early after Brown commuted her sentence. Now in her mid-30s, she was released in Yamhill County in 2021.
Barbara Thomas’ son, Adam Thomas, was 18 at the time of the killing. He is eligible for a parole hearing after serving 25 years of his term — which is about 3 years from now.