Michael Anselmo, one of the Nevada prison system’s longest serving inmates, has finally been paroled from his murder conviction.
Anselmo, now 66, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without possible parole in May 1972.
That sentence was commuted by the pardons board to allow the possibility of parole in 2005. That vote came at the urging of Supreme Court Justice Bob Rose, who was the Washoe County DA who prosecuted Anselmo for murdering Trudy Hiler. Rose argued at the time, convicted murderers could expect to serve 20-30 years in prison, then be released.
“After 34 years in prison, Michael has paid for his crime,” said Rose during the pardons board hearing.
He kidnapped Hiler, 22, as she left the Cal-Neva Lodge in July 1971. Her body was found two days later under a rock ledge between the casino and Lake Tahoe, stabbed and strangled to death. Anselmo, a teenaged busboy, led security and police to the body and, initially, confessed saying he was high on LSD at the time.
He has now been in prison 46 years.
But the parole board decision doesn’t mean Anselmo will be freed this summer. He has a consecutive 10-year sentence to serve for an attempted escape in 1976. He must serve at least 30 months of that sentence before he’s eligible to be released.
In addition, the board denied parole for two convicted sex offenders.
James Hale, 61, was convicted in Churchill County in 1998 on three counts of sexual assault of a victim under age 16. The sentences are all consecutive life sentences and he’s still serving the first one and each of those convictions carries a minimum 20 years in prison.
Finally, Wesley Huttman is serving 10 years in prison for battery with intent to commit sexual assault and substantial bodily harm. He has served two years of that sentence and was denied parole in April.
For both Hale and Huttman, this was their first parole hearing.