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Man convicted of killing KSP Det. Vendl Phelps released from prison

On June 30, 1982, Harry Lee Shelor Jr. began serving a 50 year sentence in the Kentucky Department of Corrections for the murder of  KSP Detective Darrell "Vendl"  Phelps on August 7, 1981. After serving nearly 31 years, Shelor, now 70 years of age, was released on February 13, 2013. The type of discharge was listed as minimum expiration. According to the Kentucky State Police memorial page, Phelps was investigating illegal cultivation of marijuana in Edmonson County. He was assigned to Post 3 Bowling Green and was an 11-year veteran of the Kentucky State Police. He was survived by his wife, Gale Givens Phelps and 2 children, Tammy Phelps Dotson and Darren G. Phelps. He is buried at Union Cemetery in Quality, Ky., in Butler County. In honor of his service and sacrifice, an eight-mile stretch of KY 1153 in Butler County has been designated the Det. Darrell V. Phelps Memorial Highway. Phelps began with the KSP in 1969 and became a detective in November of 1980. He served the counties of Ohio, Butler, and Logan.

Harry Lee Shelor Jr.

 The funeral hosted a procession of 172 vehicles, 93 of which were of law enforcement. Officers from the states of Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky were present along with former Lt. Governor Martha Lane Collins.  The Phelps family was not aware of Shelor's release but they did attend a victim impact hearing in June of 1989 opposing Shelor's release at that time . The family was told that the next victim impact hearing would be held in 2017. 



What is wrong with our justice/legal system???? My aunt lost the love of her life, Tammy and Daren lost their Daddy,,,,,Thadd, Maggie, Kirstin, and Rachel NEVER got to meet their Grandfather!!! YET,,,,,HARRY is FREE~~~~Uncle Vendl was an amazing man,,,,I DO NOT think this is OK~~
I'm right there with you! I just read this and it's disgusting!! My heart goes out to you family, my father was murdered 6 months before I was born, we was also a police officer. It boggles my mind how this f-tard can walk the streets when he should be taking a dirt nap!
It is a sad state of affairs that this has happened a family lost a son ,husband ,father and now a grandfather and this man walks free the loss can never be replaced. where is the justice in this ? My heart goes out to the family , be praying for you all at this time.
Now if they could just do an early release on the Hell he put the Phelps/Givens family through all these years. This piece of crap should never have seen the light of day again. Pathetic.
This just makes me sick...literally!!!!!
A man is sentenced to life with no parole for his third conviction of manufacturing, possession and distributing drugs. So they release this scum bag, does he get to kill two more state troopers before he gets life without parole? Hell of a message to be sending! Kill a trooper you'll get off, just don't get caught with your drugs! Does anyone else see a problem with this????
he is free and lives while a family has suffered for 31 years he was released on minimum expiration while Mr. Phelps life was taken in one shot show me the justice cant see it .Over Drugs Imagine that !
Daddy will always be remembered by the people who love our family. In prison or out of prison, Mr.Shelor cannot bring Daddy back to us. Personally, I forgave HLS many years ago, because the Bible teaches us that to receive forgiveness we have to give it. I don't have to stand accountable for him killing Daddy, I only have to try my best everyday to live a Christian example. I ask that Mr. Shelor accept the Lord, if he hasn't already and ask for forgiveness of his sins. I ask that the community lift our family in prayer, as we were shocked with news of his release from prison. We've dealt with the loss of Daddy for over 30 years now, so that isn't something new. If there were anything we would ask, it is that you contact the State Attorney General's office asking why our family wasn't made aware of this release. Thank you to everyone who has remembered, loved and supported our family all these years and not just now.
Your a good person Tammy. I know it's sometimes hard to forgive, I think the good Lord above is going to conutine blessing you.
Tammy I told you mother the only thing I know to offer you is prayers. It is disgusting that the Governor decided to release him. And to not even bother to notify your family. What kind of criminals were not released and what kind was room made for. This is outrageous. PL Ballard.
Tammy, you do not know me and I don't believe I ever had the opportunity to meet your Dad. I am sure he was a fine man and from what you have written I see that you are a fine christian lady.Your Dad's grandmother whose name was Velma Phelps was my granddad's sister, my granddad was Mansfield Phelps who was living in Woodbury when he died in 1963 or 1964. I can relate to your Dad as I have been in law enforcement for 45 years. I spent 36 yrs in law enforcement in Texas and lost several fellow officers during those years.I can appreciate the profession that your Dad chose and so sorry that he made the ultimate sacrifice.I can only guess how this senseless killing affected you and your family and loved ones. May GOD watch over you and your family and continue to comfort you. I know your Dad is so proud of the woman that you apparently became. May he continue to guide your life from above. Glen Allison
Tammy, your family is in our prayers. I don't understand why the justice system decided to release him without even notifying you, that was truly wrong and a disgrace. I am moved by your comments about forgiving him because that is what God teaches us. We can forgive those that offend us, even in the worst of conditions like these. You are truly a great Christian example. May the Lord have mercy on Mr. Shelor's soul and may he turn to God for forgiveness as well.
Ms. Dotson, I am a Cadet with the Kentucky State Police and I have been honored with the task of researching your father. He was truly an amazing man who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of service above self. You are clearly a strong and amazing woman for your forgiveness. I would love to hear more about your father's personal life and his life as a Trooper. If you would be willing to share some of his stories with me, please contact me at [email protected] If there is anything that the KSP family can do for you, please feel free to contact me about that as well. Thank you for your time. Have a blessed day. Sincerely, Cadet Burgess
This is one of the most ignored, or under reported issues the media doesn't like to talk about. Recidivism, the repeat offenders who are released from prison, only to commit crime again. It's not newsworthy to them. My question is why is a murderer still alive, let alone being released...
My prayers going to this family. I love you guys.
My prayers are with you all. I wish there was some thing that I could do to ease the pain for you all. I know this must be hard on all of you. May God Bless you all and comfort your need. Your family is so loved by myself and many other people. Gale, you and Daren are so special to me. I will forever love you both.
My thought's and prayer's go out to the family of Detective Phelps. You will never forget and for some, will never forgive! I am not going to preach here but I think Tammy has summed it up very well. I am in a similar situation although not of the magnitude involved here. My ex-wife will be released in April despite the severe mental, financial and emotional distress she has created upon many including her own children. HLS Jr. will get his ultimate sentence upon his death! In all due respect, he has obviously served his sentence according to the Law. Is it right? I don't know, but according to the Judicial System he "served his time" and there is not much that anyone can do about it. Sometimes there is NO good resolution. To worry ones self and exhaust precious energy about it is just 'Wasted Time & Energy.' My prayer's and thoughts go out to all involved.
This is a travesty. This POS should have been sentenced to death to start with. He did not serve his time. He was sentenced to 50 years and served less than 30(he plead out during the trial in 1983). Unbelievable. A real slap in the face to the family and the KSP.
To the Phelps Family. My thoughts and prayers go out to you folks. I worked with your Dad as a Trooper and then was one 0f the Officers who arrested Shelor. On that day I never thought he would ever be released rather I thought he would be executed. What a miscarriage of justice.
prayers for the family. Tammy you are right what it said in the bible. and i no it will be hard for you your mom & darin but just keep god in your heart and i know HLS jr will pay more come judgement day.
Tammy, I remember when it all happened. At the time, I didn't know that you would become part of my family just a few short years later. I also remember thinking that, although the criminal justice system can prosecute, convict, and sentence a man for his crime, it cannot reverse the results of that crime, and my heart went out to you and your family even then. God has surely made it possible for you to respond as you have, both to your loss and to the unexpected release. May His grace continue to permeate your life, and may He be able to bless others through your testimony.

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