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Marion murderer up for parole October 30

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Oct 25 2013 06:11:44 PM MDT
MARION, Mont. -

A convicted murderer from the Flathead is up for parole, but friends and family want Karl Randall Bachman to stay behind bars.

It's a 40 year old murder case that still makes Arlene shiver.

"He was right there somewhere near us and we didn't even know it," said Arlene.

Her two friends, 9 year old Jessica Westphal and 11 year old Karen Tyler were abducted by Karl Randall Bachman in 1973. The story begins on Bitterroot Drive in Marion where Tyler and Bachman were leaving Bitterroot Lake after a day of swimming. Arlene was with them.

"They decided to get on their bikes. So I said 'Okay.' I turned around and went back to my sister and Karen's sister and he took them right before we got there to that corner," Arlene explained.

Westphal and Tyler's disappearance shook up the little town of Marion.

"I had nightmares. I was scared. Every time I'd go around the corner I'd get goosebumps," recalled Arlene.

Three years later, the girls' remains were found in the woods. No suspect could be identified. But people wondered and talked, like Tony Jorgenson. He was in the National Guard with Bachman, and the missing girls were all anyone at work could talk about.

"He'd be standing right there and he would say 'Yeah I don't know how anyone could do something like that," Jorgenson said.

Bachman's guilty past caught up with him in 1977. He was linked to the Marion murders after he molested a 19 year old Glacier National Park employee. She escaped and told the cops about the altercation. Bachman's interrogation revealed his connection to Westphal and Tyler's deaths. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Bachman is now up for parole. Arlene and others want to see him remain behind bars for a crime that left a community broken.

"He needs to stay there. He does. He devastated those families so bad and other people. Lots of other people," said Arlene.

"Anyone that can do something like that doesn't deserve to even live, let alone not be behind bars. I don't think they should ever let him out," Jorgenson concluded.

Karl Randall Bachman faces the parole board next Wednesday, October 30.