Clemency denied to woman who murdered Everett man

EVERETT — A woman, who was part of a group of young people hired to kill an Everett man in 2001 won’t be freed from prison halfway into her 22-year sentence.

Marriam Oliver in September won over the state’s Clemency Board, which recommended that the convicted murderer’s prison term be shortened. Gov. Jay Inslee this month denied the petition for clemency.

The governor noted serious concerns with Oliver’s behavior in prison and numerous infractions.

“Her violation history is troubling,” the governor’s general counsel Nicholas Brown wrote to Oliver’s attorney.

The board had concluded that before Oliver was released she would have to be infraction-free for three years.

“Clemency is a rare and extraordinary grant of relief and only those inmates with exemplary records should be afforded such an opportunity,” Brown wrote.

Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe received notice on Tuesday. Prosecutors advised the victim’s family of the governor’s decision, Roe said.

Jerry Heimann’s family wrote letters in opposition of Oliver’s release. Roe and Everett police Sgt. Joe Neussendorfer also were against Oliver being let out before she serves her sentence.

“Half-off murder didn’t sit right with us. I am glad the governor looked at the case closely, and denied her petition,” Roe said.

Oliver was 14 when she was persuaded by Barbara Opel to kill her boss, 64-year-old Heimann. Oliver was best friends with Opel’s daughter, Heather, then 13.

Prosecutors alleged that Barbara Opel masterminded the killing in order to get her hands on Heimann’s money. She was hired to care for his elderly, ailing mother. She promised the teens electronics and money in exchange for ambushing Heimann.

He was beaten and stabbed inside his Everett home.

Barbara Opel was convicted of first-degree murder. Prosecutors sought the death penalty but jurors chose to spare her life.

Her daughter and Oliver both were tried as adults. They received the lower end of the sentencing range for a first-degree murder conviction.

Oliver, who testified before the four-member Clemency Board by telephone, cried and had to pause frequently as she recounted the crime.

“It is something that I will live for the rest of my life, that I took the life of a man, a father, a grandfather and friend,” she said.

Oliver, 26, will be able to refile the petition in three years.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield and Associated Press contributed to this story.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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