A Montana prison inmate with terminal cancer has been denied medical parole, after the Lewis and Clark County attorney and a victim of his crime – sexual assault – objected to his release.
A three-member of the state Board of Pardons and Parole on Monday unanimously rejected the request from Donald Stock, a Helena man who’s serving two concurrent 50-year sentences for the sexual assault of two children.
Stock, 50, who has maintained his innocence, said he’s been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon, lung and bone cancer, and also suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes and a progressive eye disease.
He’s not technically eligible for parole until 2022, but successfully sought a special hearing before the board to consider his request for a medical parole, in which he would be released to his parents in Clancy, while he underwent cancer treatment in nearby Helena.
“He’s going to die; there’s no two ways about it,” said his mother, Marsha Stock. “He’s not a risk, because he’s really not going to go anyplace. He’s going to be so sick from this (chemotherapy), he would be lucky if he could just walk to the bathroom and back. … I would just like him home.”
But Lewis and Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher said the victims and their family still live in Helena and already are traumatized at the thought of running into Stock while he’s out and getting treatment.
“I understand we’ve all had loved ones who’ve gone through a cancer death, and I understand it’s horrible, and I’m sorry for that,” he said. “But I don’t think there is a record that would justify a medical parole at this time.”
One of the victims and the victim’s mother also testified at the hearing Monday, saying they adamantly opposed Stock’s release.
The mother called him “a monster” and said that she’s been harassed by Stock’s parents.
Parole Board member Brad Newman, a former state district judge, noted that state law says medical parole should be granted only to those inmates whose medical condition is likely to cause death within six months.
Paul Rees, the acting medical director for the state Department of Corrections and who appeared at the hearing, said he could not say “confidently” that Stock would die within six months, and that all of his medical needs are being met at the prison.
He said they have a plan for Stock to get palliative care, chemotherapy and any necessary surgery.
Colin Stephens, a Missoula attorney representing Stock, said his client is “very, very sick” with a rapidly growing cancer.
“I think this is a very sick man and I’m struggling to come up with an understandable reason that medical parole would not be appropriate in this case,” he said.