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Judge urged to clear path to parole in nursing home deaths

succo via Pixabay | CC BY 2.0

A lawyer has urged a judge to ignore "popular opinion" and affirm the release of a woman who has spent 30 years in prison for killing residents at a nursing home.

Kent County Judge Joe Rossi heard arguments Monday in a challenge to parole for Catherine Wood. There was no immediate decision.

Five people were suffocated at the Alpine Manor Nursing Home in Walker, near Grand Rapids, in the late 1980s. Wood pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and murder conspiracy, but the attorney general's office says she admitted to participating in all five deaths and was planning more.

Relatives of the victims have sued to try to overturn the parole board's decision. Another woman, Gwendolyn Graham, was sentenced to life in prison for her role in the murders.