The family of a man who was killed by someone once considered a friend is now awaiting the decision that will determine whether the killer stays behind bars or is released.
Troy T. Lee, 39, is serving 30 years in prison at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and first-degree burglary in the death of Bryan Hansen, 27, of Fort Dodge, in 2004.
Lee's parole hearing was held Thursday morning. A decision is expected sometime within the next 30 days.
From Des Moines, the Iowa Board of Parole listened as Lee, in Rockwell City, and members of Hansen's family stated their reasons for and against his release.
Hansen's mother, Linda Goodno, and sister, Danielle Carlson, spoke to the board via a video link from the Fort Dodge Public Library. They were accompanied by about 10 friends and family members, although Goodno and Carlson were the only ones allowed to speak.
Goodno described to the Parole Board the night of Feb. 1, 2004, when her son was killed.
"I will never forget that call at 11 p.m. from Dr. (Dan) Cole (Webster County medical examiner) informing me that my son had been taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound and was now dead," she said to the board. "No mother should ever have to be told that her only son is dead. No mother should ever have to call her only daughter to tell her that her brother is dead."
Goodno said that ever since her son's murder, she has felt isolated and alone and doesn't like to leave her home.
"Bryan was my cheerleader and my support," she said. "He made me laugh so hard, tears would roll down my eyes. Bryan was a special light in my life."
Carlson told the board that Lee took away so much when he killed her brother.
"He took my brother away from me," she said. "He took away the chance for him to be a father, a grandfather and a husband."
Hansen's father, Dan Hansen, briefly spoke to the Parole Board directly from Des Moines.
While he told the Parole Board he forgives Lee, he added that doesn't mean he should be free.
"I just want to ask that you don't put him on parole," he said. "It's been tough on all of us."
Lee also spoke on his own behalf from Rockwell City.
"I entered his home attempting to scare him with a gun," he said. "I ended up taking his life."
Lee, who said he believed the gun was empty, said he already has a job lined up and people he can live with if he is released on parole. He would either live with his in-laws in Fort Dodge or his sister in Des Moines.
"The hardest part for me will be entering back into society," he said. "It's been such a long time since I've been out."
He added he hoped Hansen's family would forgive him.
"It was an absolutely horrible decision," he said. "The worst decision I've ever made in my life."
When Goodno and Carlson learned Lee was up for parole, they began a social media campaign to keep him behind bars. They included finding friends of Hansen to send letters to the Parole Board and encouraging people to come to the hearing, which was open to the public.
People who attended the parole hearing received a photo of Hansen that they held up during testimony. Goodno said this was meant as a way for those in attendance to speak without actually saying anything.