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Convicted killer will stay in prison for life after parole board decision

Kimberly Harris was convicted in 2001 of murdering Patty Eitel and Debbie Bell as they were leaving work at the Jefferson Place Nursing Home on Herr Lane.
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 11:34 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 14, 2022 at 5:51 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A woman convicted of killing her two co-workers 25 years ago will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Kimberly Harris pleaded for an early release from her two concurrent life sentences during a Feb. 9 parole board hearing. She told the board members she is a “changed person” who had been to the dark side and never wanted to go back again.

In a series of Troubleshooter investigations, the family members of the victims expressed their concern for their family’s and the community’s safety if Harris was let out.

This was the first time Harris had been eligible for parole.

The Kentucky Parole Board announced the decision Monday morning that Harris will now serve out the rest of her life sentence without being let out on parole. The two board members presiding over the hearing Wednesday had referred the decision to the full parole board which is made up of nine members.

“Based on the board’s decision today, Ms. Harris will not have any future parole eligibility dates available to her,” Chairperson of the Kentucky Parole Board Ladeidra Jones said in a statement.

Harris was convicted in 2001 of murdering Patty Eitel and Debbie Bell as they were leaving work at the Jefferson Place Nursing Home on Herr Lane. Harris shot both women multiple times, and then executed them before taking off.

Harris never denied killing the women. During the hearing, Harris said her original plan was to kill herself in front of Eitel. She was struggling with the decision to kill herself, she told the board members, so she decided to do something so horrific, she would have to proceed with suicide. When asked why she didn’t kill herself after murdering the women, Harris said she didn’t know.

During the original trial, evidence and multiple witness statements showed Harris had talked about killing the women and work place shootings. Harris was also said to have a hit list and a plan to escape after the shooting. Harris had also harassed the women and stolen Eitel’s dog.

Harris told the parole board members she had bad thoughts crossing her mind that influenced her to act.

“I got to praying and just turned to God for everything and I believe I got divine healing for all the mental stuff,” Harris said.

She added God chooses her thoughts now.

“I still have, like, stuff will go through my mind but I can cut it off, and do things like meditate on different scriptures that help me get my mind back on track,” she said.

Harris explained she no longer takes any medication because they weren’t helping with the bad thoughts and they made her ‘sleepy.’

Debbie’s daughter, Cecily Bell told WAVE News, she is incredibly thankful to the board members and that she is proud of them for serving Harris out.

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)