Early Release of a Child Killer

Posted on March 14, 2011

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I don’t typically write on topics like this, but this is something near and dear to my heart — the safety of our nation’s children.

Barring a miracle, Michael Woodmansee will be a free man in August of this year — 12 years shy of his 40-year sentence.

Rhode Island Child Killer

If you haven’t heard, he’s the South Kingston, Rhode Island man who killed his 5-year-old neighbor, Jason Foreman, in 1975 … just to see “what it would be like.” Authorities say that the search for Foreman was one of the largest conducted in Rhode Island history.  Woodmansee was 16 years old, but would not get caught for seven more long years.

You see, he lured the child into his house, stabbed him in the chest with a kitchen knife and wrapped his body in plastic. He said he watched the boy for an hour to see if he was dead. That’s the short version. Eventually, he wrapped the body in a rug and placed it in a trunk in his basement. Several years later, after his father mentioned getting rid of the trunk, he removed the flesh from the bones, shellacked them and kept them in his room.

Another Attempt Seven Years Later

Police would have discovered the body right away if they hadn’t turned over the search of Woodmansee’s home to his father, a reserve police office and owner of the home. Woodmansee’s dirty deed was only discovered when, seven years after the Foreman murder, he tried to strangle a 14-year old neighborhood paperboy, Dale Sherman. He lured the boy inside his home and gave him alcohol. After Sherman passed out, he awoke to Woodmansee strangling him. He broke free and ran home.

Sherman’s dad confronted Woodmansee, punched him, then called the police. Officer Strickland arrived on the scene to take the report. As Sherman and Strickland discussed the incident, they suddenly looked at each other and simultaneously spouted, “Jason Foreman.” They both had a strong sense that Woodmansee was responsible for the missing Foreman boy.

As Strickland left the Sherman home, Woodmansee’s father flagged him down to complain about Sherman punching his son. Strickland suggested that they both come down to the station to talk.

Confession and Journal

After an overnight stay in the pokey, Woodmansee confessed. When asked whether the police would find anything in his house during a search, he mentioned a journal, but was emphatic that the contents were fictional — contents that detailed his grizzly abuse of Jason Foreman before and after his death. The search did, indeed, turn up a journal and the shellacked remains of the Foreman boy’s bones.

Contents of the journal remain protected. The judge ordered all evidence in the case sealed due to the second-degree plea bargain accepted by Woodmansee. Foreman’s parents agreed to allow the plea bargain to avoid a lengthy trial and hearing the gory details of what happened to their son.

Little did they know that 28 years later, and after the 2000 death of Mrs. Foreman, Woodmansee would receive an early release based on good behavior — 12 days per month were shaved from his sentence. Due to the horrific crime, he was incarcerated out-of-state in Rhode Island, and the justice system kept him isolated from the prison population.

Contact Your Congressman

Ravin Aubin, Foreman’s older sister, asks that everyone contact members of congress in the 17 states that DO NOT have “truth in sentencing,” which is a law that requires offenders to serve the entire sentence — disallows early release in these cases. Rhode Island is one of them. Find out if your state has a truth in sentencing law in place. If not, send a note to your congressman to enact it.

Foreman family members stated that if this law had been in place when they agreed to the plea deal for Woodmansee, he would be behind bars for 12 more years, fulfilling every bit of his 40-year federal sentence.

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