MOVE members denied parole

April 22, 2008 2:25:20 PM PDT
Three members of the back-to-nature group MOVE were denied parole Tuesday in connection with the 1978 shooting of a Philadelphia police officer. Nine MOVE members were found guilty of third-degree murder in the death of Officer James Ramp, and of the attempted murders of others as police tried to evict them.

The parole requests for Debbie Sims Africa, Janet Hollaway Africa and Jeanene Phillips Africa were denied Tuesday morning, according to Leon Dunn, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. All three are being held in a state prison near Erie.

The requests were denied because each refused to accept responsibility, showed a lack of remorse and received a negative recommendation by the prosecuting attorney, according to the board's ruling. They will be eligible for review again next year.

Four other male MOVE members are awaiting parole decisions in the case, and decisions for them are expected later this month or early next month, Dunn said.

An eighth defendant will be eligible for parole next year, and a ninth died in prison.

Prosecutors want all eight to serve the maximum of their 30- to 100-year prison terms. Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham praised Tuesday's ruling.

"They have never expressed regret or remorse for their actions," Abraham said in a statement. "They have not even acknowledged that they murdered Officer James Ramp and wounded several other police officers and firefighters. They should serve as much time as possible."

The shootings happened after police had tried to evict 12 adults and 11 children from the MOVE home in West Philadelphia.

Seven years later, on May 13, 1985, police dropped a bomb on another MOVE house in West Philadelphia, starting a fire that killed five children and six adults. The blaze also destroyed 61 row houses.