Gruesome murder victim's family fighting for convicted killer to stay in prison

Kenneth Sandlin (Warren Co. Prosecutor)
Kenneth Sandlin (Warren Co. Prosecutor)

WARREN COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Forty years after he brutally killed a man and raped a woman, a convicted murderer is now getting a chance to get out.

Kenneth Sandlin received a life sentence for aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape in 1979, but he is up for parole this year. For the last four decades, the family of Arnold Davis, the man Sandlin killed, has remained silent as they grieve and mourn the loss of someone they deeply loved.

Now, all these years later, they said they're ready to tell their story to make sure Sandlin never walks free again.

Davis, his relatives say, was part of a big family. His eight siblings describe him as a loving brother who lived life to the fullest until his life was taken when he was only 19 years old.

"It's been 40 years. Seems like last night," said Aline Allen, Davis' mother. "It's hard. It destroyed my nerves."

Davis died a death that made newspaper headlines and shocked the tight-knit community of South Lebanon.

"I don't know how to describe the pain," said Marlene Cook, Davis' sister.

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In 1978, investigators said that Davis and his girlfriend encountered Kenneth Sandlin and Michael Barrett during a night out. Sandlin and Barrett, prosecutors said, tricked Davis and the woman into going to a field where there was supposedly a party taking place. However, when they got there, no one was there.

Sandlin and Barrett then savagely killed Davis, stabbing him, stomping on him and ultimately dumping his body in an old well.

"He did not just murder our brother," said Rosalie Allen, one of Davis' sisters. "This man slaughtered his body."

Investigators also said that the two men repeatedly raped the woman and threatened her with her life.

"What they did to the victim that is still living, no one should have to live the life that either of our families have lived," Rosalie Allen said.

For years, Davis' family hasn't talked about what happened. It's just too painful, too deep and sometimes too much to bear. On Thursday, the heartache hurts the same, but since they have discovered that Sandlin is getting a parole hearing this year, they feel it's their time to speak up.

Sandlin's sentence put him in prison for life. The Warren County Prosecutor is fighting for him to stay there and is encouraging people through social media to contact the parole board.

Davis' family is doing that too. They said they have to be the voice for their brother, their son, their incredible relative, who was taken too soon by men they've deemed monsters.

Davis' family also plans to start a petition.

If you would like to contact the parole board regarding Kenneth Sandlin's possible release, you can use the Warren County Prosecutor's webpage to submit comments or the Ohio Parole Board website to submit comments. You can also write a letter to the Ohio Parole Board, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43222.

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