Parole denied in Pelham murders

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Michael Ellison and David Collums lost their chance for early parole during a hearing Monday before the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The two men plead guilty to aiding and abetting in the 1997 murders of Randy Duke, Dedra Mims Hunt and her daughters Chelsea, 6, and Chelisa, 7.

Mark Duke and Brandon Samra, friends of Ellison and Collums, were convicted of murder and are now on Death Row.

Ellison was granted another parole hearing in June 2005. Collums is eligible for a new parole hearing in five years.

Pelham Police Chief Allan Wade investigated the murders, which took place in Pelham’s upscale Chandalar subdivision. He also attended Monday’s hearing in protest of their early parole.

&uot;I’m pleased the parole was denied, but I’m disappointed we’ve got to go back next June,&uot; Wade said.

Wade said he thinks Ellison and Collums got &uot;a sweet deal&uot; when they plead with Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens for 16-year sentences. Testimony from Samra ended up confirming evidence against Ellison and Collums, according to Wade.

Now, Wade said he thinks Ellison is lying to attorneys.

&uot;Quite honestly, we think Ellison is still lying. I truly believe that he has lied,&uot; Wade said.

Wade recounted the details of the 1997 murders, describing Mark Duke as the 16-year-old mastermind of the gruesome slaying of his father and three others. According to Wade’s investigation, a murder plot was hatched in Ellison’s bedroom, and Ellison drove the murderers in his truck to the Duke home before the killings.

Collums was also present during the planning and the murders.

The four co-conspirators gathered guns but ran out of bullets after killing Randy Duke and Dedra Hunt, Wade said. Samra and Mark Duke then cut the throats of the six and seven-year-old girls, and also cut the adult’s bodies.

Wade, who has been with the Pelham Police Department for 30 years, said the horrific nature of the killings is unique.

&uot;Nothing like this has ever happened in Pelham, and as far I know, not even in the state of Alabama,&uot; Wade said