Just a year after being denied parole and ordered to continue serving his life sentence, convicted murderer J.B. Bounds will have another shot at freedom following 30 years in prison.
Bounds, now 64 and serving his time at Southeastern State Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville, will get to go before the parole board in October to again ask for early release.
Bounds has been incarcerated since February 1981 for the shooting which occurred at Odyssey Game Room in Smithville. The shooting left 27-year-old Sherman Wright dead from a single 357 Magnum gunshot wound to the head in a case prosecutors called cold blooded murder, but Bounds still insists was self-defense.
During his recent parole hearing, parole board members went over the facts, noting the shooting was over a $2,800 gambling debt Wright reportedly owed Bounds. Witnesses said Bounds asked Wright to step outside the game room and moments later a shot was heard. Wright was found lying in a pool of blood with a bullet wound in his forehead. He died a short time later at Vanderbilt Hospital. Meanwhile, Bounds left the scene and went to McMinnville where he turned himself in to authorities.
Bounds claimed he thought Wright was reaching for a gun and ended up pulling his own weapon in self-defense. Bounds said Wright, who was not armed, grabbed for his gun and it went off hitting Wright point-blank in the head.
Parole board members questioned why Bounds would go armed to the game room in the first place and also questioned why there was no mention of a struggle over the gun in the evidence of the original case from 1981.
In the end, parole board members decided to deny Bounds’ request for parole, suggesting he be allowed to apply again in two years. However, it has since been decided they would entertain another request this year. A psychological evaluation has been requested for Bounds before he appears in front of the board.
During the hearing, a hearing officer will decide whether to recommend parole. That recommendation, along with the record of the hearing, will then be sent to the various members of the board who can decide to grant parole or delay Bounds for a period of time. Generally, the recommendation of the hearing officer is followed by the board.