Man tied to local teen’s death released early | ParkRecord.com

Man tied to local teen’s death released early

Sarah Moffitt, The Park Record

A Kentucky man who was sentenced to five years in prison after being tied to the hit-and-run death of a Park City woman was released from jail last month after only serving half of his sentence.

Shannon Houser, 40, struck Connie Blount, 18, with his car while she was crossing a street late at night in Lexington, Kentucky on April 8, 2008. Blount, a Park City High School graduate, died shortly afterward in a Lexington hospital.

Houser was charged in 2009 with fleeing the scene of a crime and tampering with evidence after he attempted to remove parts of his car that were damaged following the accident, according to Fayette Commonwealth Attorney Ray Larson. Houser was given the maximum sentence for both charges and was sentenced to five years in prison.

On Monday, Blount’s parents, Jack and Cindy, were alerted to Houser’s early release from prison by a Lexington television station. He had been released on Sept. 1, after serving 2 years and six months.

"He tried to get the truck that he was driving when he struck Connie out of the police impound and the TV station did a story on it," Jack Blount said. "That is the only reason we found out. The TV station called on Monday and told us. We were shocked."

Because of overcrowding and a lack of funding in Kentucky jails, inmates can be released early on good behavior without the notification or consent of the parole board or attorneys, he explained.

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Cindy Blount said the information that Houser was out of jail came as a complete surprise.

"When Jack went out there for Houser’s parole hearing in 2010 and he was denied parole, we were told the earliest he would be released was September 2012. This is such a flaw in the legal system," she said.

Houser was charged with a felony for tampering with evidence. His request for the release of his truck was denied because it is part of a criminal investigation.

"My big question is, how can this man even request his car back after being responsible for killing two people for driving drunk and having five DUIs," Jack said. Adding that in 1993, Houser pleaded guilty to reckless homicide after being involved in a car accident that killed the passenger in Houser’s car.

Because Houser fled the scene after hitting Blount, the prosecution was unable to bring manslaughter or driving under the influence charges against him.

"He never showed remorse during the entire process," said Connie’s mother. "Even at his parole hearing, he just kept saying he never saw her and she shouldn’t have been in the middle of the street."

Connie Blount was an avid equestrian who was majoring in equestrian sciences at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Cindy Blount said Connie’s two thoroughbred horses were loaned to University of Findlay in Ohio following her death where they are being used in the Hunter Jumper and Dressage program.

The Blount family worked with state legislatures to make fleeing the scene of a crime a felony charge. Kentucky adopted the policy in 2009 and Utah followed suit in 2010. At the time of Connie’s accident, it was only a misdemeanor in both states.