‘Girl in the Box’ Captor Among Those Eligible for Parole Under New Law
In 1977, 20-year-old Colleen Stan accepted a fateful ride from a stranger while hitchhiking to a friend’s house in Red Bluff, California. The man who picked her up, Cameron Hooker, abducted Stan at knifepoint and brought her back to the home he shared with his wife. Stan was tortured, raped, and confined to a small wooden box for four years.
Cameron Hooker, 68, is among a number of convicts eligible for parole under California’s Elderly Parole Program (SB 445). The law allows those aged 50 and over, who have served 20 consecutive years, to get a parole hearing.
Another convict eligible under the law is Duane Keeney, 59, who kidnapped and repeatedly sexually assaulted teenager Robbie Barnes in Modoc County in 1993. Before SB 445, Keeney would not have been eligible for parole until 2048. Now he has a parole hearing scheduled for June.
Prosecutors are now speaking out forcefully about the impacts of SB 445.
"As a DA, our number one priority is public safety," Tehama County District Attorney Matt Rogers told KRCR. "And our duty is to the community; to do everything we can to keep the community safe."
He’s asking the public to write letters and circulate petitions under the “extraordinary circumstances.” Rogers is also trying to get Hooker designated as a "Sexually Violent Predator.”
Modoc County District Attorney Cynthia Campbell has started her own petition to protest Keeney’s possible release. Robbie Barnes is still haunted by the event and she’s “terrified” by Keeney’s coming parole hearing, Campbell said.
“…She thought she had another 20 years before she had to worry about him getting out."