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Orlando awaits parole decision
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ORLANDO - photo by Photo by Reed Vanderpool
A parole review hearing was held in Cookeville Monday for 40-year-old Christopher Nicholas Orlando, who was convicted of facilitation of first degree murder in a 2002 death of 20-year-old Joshua Murphy in DeKalb County.Orlando has served 11 years of a 45-year prison sentence.Unless the decision of two Board of Parole members, to decline his parole and reconsider the case at a later date, is overturned by the remainder of the board, Orlando will serve at least three more years. Four matching votes from the seven-member board are needed for a decision in this case.The file now goes to the remaining board members, who will review it and cast their votes.The members will consider such factors as seriousness of the offense, time served, victim input, any programs the offender may have completed or disciplinary actions against the offender while incarcerated.Board Chairman Charles Traughber and member Richard Montgomery voted to decline parole for Orlando and reconsider the case in three years at the Monday hearing. Orlando was convicted of facilitation of first-degree murder in the case, and is currently incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City.Murphy was shot three times with a shotgun in an out-of-the-way spot in the Laurel Hill community on Sept. 15, 2002.His body was discovered three days after the incident.The prosecution contended that Orlando and his co-defendant Melvin Turnbill lured Murphy to the wooded area and killed him because they suspected him of stealing their drugs.Orlando was tried and convicted of the crime in April 2004, while Turnbill entered a guilty plea to facilitation to first-degree murder in September 2003 and was given a 25-year sentence, of which he must serve at least 30 percent.Turnbill has a parole hearing scheduled for April, 2014.Orlando’s Monday hearing was held via video, with Traughber and Montgomery communicating with him from other locations in the state while Orlando remained at the prison where he is being held.Deputy District Attorney General Gary McKenzie and local media viewed the proceedings from the Board of Parole facility in Cookeville.None of the victim's family members attended the hearing.Orlando maintained, as he did at his original trial, that he did not pull the trigger, and blamed Turnbill for the murder.“I was there and I made a lot of poor decisions but I didn't shoot him,” Orlando told those present.Orlando said that drugs played a large part in the crime.“It was a bad time in my life and in all three of our lives.