Minnesota family fears 1987 killer could be next murderer paroled

In March 1987, Mark Alton hid and waited for his ex-girlfriend’s fiance, Rob Carley, to return home. As Rob walked to his kitchen, Alton shot him 7 times, killing him. Next, Alton took a wedding invitation he found, and wrote, “I don’t make threats Phil I make promises. You took away my future. Now I took yours!”

A Ramsey County judge sentenced Alton to life in prison. However, back then, defendants sentenced to life in prison were eligible for parole after 17 years.

Over the years, hearing after hearing, Alton’s parole was denied. However, Rob’s family worries Alton could soon receive parole under the leadership of Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy.

“It was very clear from the commissioner’s actions, comments in the [last] hearing, that he was ready to put Mark [Alton] on the path to be released,” Cynthia Carley, one of Rob’s sisters, told Fox 9.

Commissioner Roy makes the ultimate decision whether to parole a lifer. But first, he receives input from a panel of experts. More than 100 inmates serving life sentences for first-degree murder will be up for parole in the next 5 years, an issue covered by the Fox 9 Investigators.

Rob’s sister believes her brother’s killer could be the next murderer paroled.

“The two previous commissioners were hearing what we had to say. I never had that feeling with Tom Roy,” Cynthia told Fox 9.

Cynthia told Fox 9 she believes Alton is not redeemed. “I don’t know who he is today, but I can tell you he was manipulative, narcissistic, would do anything get his own way at the time. I don’t think those things go away,” Cynthia said.

Cynthia also said she believes it is unjust for her brother’s killer to receive parole, and the decision should not rest on one person’s shoulders, saying Alton “issued my brother a life sentence without the possibility of parole, he should suffer the same consequence.”

Alton’s next hearing is Tuesday morning, Nov. 15.