Five years after former State Rep. Mike Locke was killed by a drunk driver, the man serving time for Locke’s death will be eligible for parole again come August.
Mike Locke was killed back in 2014 while putting up campaign signs on the shoulder of the Fort Henry Drive bridge in Colonial Heights.
James Hamm Jr. was driving impaired when he hit and killed Locke.
Hamm was sentenced to 15 years in prison but due to a prison credit, he is up for parole for the second time.
Read more: Man convicted of hitting, killing a former state representative while driving denied new trial
Hamm was found guilty on all counts including vehicular homicide by intoxication and leaving the scene of an accident with a death. His second parole hearing will be August 6 at 9 AM.
The loss of Mike Locke was still painful for his mother-in-law, Barbra Sanders, to talk about Friday.
“It was devastating to all of us. With the parole hearing coming up, it just brings the whole accident scene back to mind,” said Sanders.
Debbie Locke, Mike’s wife of 36 years, remembers her husband as a member of the community.
“He was a great husband, a great father, and all about the community,” she said. “He was always about trying to do the best thing for the community. We were married 36 years before James Hamm took his life.”
She says now, “Hamm is up for parole for the second time in 39 months because the State of Tennessee has what they call sentence reduction credits.”
Rep. Bud Hulsey explained that those laws have since been changed.
“Five years ago, Dale Carr and I ran a bill together that said if you kill somebody while your driving impaired, the old law was you had to serve 30% of that sentence before you are eligible for parole,” Hulsey said. “We passed a bill that said you have to serve 60%.”
However, Hamm does not fall under the new law. So, Debbie and her family are now asking people to sign a petition to give to the parole board, asking them to deny parol for Hamm.
“He chose to drink and drive days prior in a hit and run,” said Mike’s son Hunter Locke. “He went to the liquor store the day he bonded out, bought liquor, ran into an individual who tried to stop him. He should have known right from wrong.”
Debbie Locke said that when they had a petition the first time Hamm was up for parole they had over 5,000 signatures.
She says she hopes to get even more signatures this time around.
Locke has been going around asking people to sign the petition and also has the petition available at Change.org. She says she will be asking people to sign all the way up until the day of Hamm’s parole hearing.