BELLEVUE, Wash. -- A convicted murderer who wasn't caught for two decades is a free man.
John Athan walked out of the Stafford Creek Correctional Facility in Aberdeen Monday after serving less than seven years of a ten-year prison sentence.
Athan, now 43-years-old, was 14 when he murdered 13-year-old Kristen Sumstad and left her body in a box behind a TV store in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. Athan got away with the murder for 20 years until Seattle Police tricked him into licking an envelope. It was used to match his DNA to a sample kept from the victim.
Athan will move to the Redmond area, where he has been given a job at his brother's ironworking business. He will also live in his brother's home. He has until Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. to report to the Department of Corrections field office in Bellevue.
The Department of Corrections has classified Athan as high-risk non violent, meaning he is considered at high risk to commit another crime, but not a violent crime.
Sumstad's family contended Kristen was raped, but Athan was not convicted of any sex offense, and therefore does not have to register as a sex offender.
My understanding is they were unable to determine if the sex was consensual or not, said Corrections Officer Kim Nix.
The victim's family fought hard to convince the parole board to keep Athan in a correctional facility, but the Department of Corrections said Athan met the criteria for release. Click here to read the parole board's official ruling.
Both the Redmond Police and King County Sheriff's Office were notified of Athan's release.