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Man who killed wife might be set free

A parole examiner wants to release Donald Armour, who stabbed his wife in 1975. A hearing takes place Wednesday.

By CARY DAVIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 16, 2003

The jury said Donald Armour should die for his crime. A judge disagreed, ruling that Armour should serve life in prison.

Now, 27 years later, a parole examiner says Armour should be set free.

The Florida Parole Commission, which has the final say, will take up Armour's case on Wednesday in Tallahassee. If the commission approves the examiner's recommendation, the 64-year-old Armour would be released on March 18.

A Pasco jury convicted Armour in 1976 for the stabbing death of one of his two wives.

Jacqueline Armour learned on the day of her death, Aug. 28, 1975, that her husband also was married to another woman. She found out when a process server came to her house in Holiday Lake Estates to deliver divorce papers from the other woman, Diana Armour.

When Donald Armour got home later that day, Jacqueline told him that she, too, intended to file for divorce. Donald Armour, then 37, grabbed a knife from a night stand and stabbed Jacqueline three times in the chest.

Then, after taking four children who were in the house to a neighbor, Armour summoned the police and told them what he had done.

The jury convicted him of first-degree murder and recommended the death penalty. But Circuit Judge Lawrence E. Keough rejected the recommendation and sentenced Armour to life in prison, ruling that mitigating circumstances outweighed the heinous nature of the crime.

Today, a life sentence means life without parole. But then, sentencing laws were different. A life sentence meant an inmate would be eligible for parole after 25 years.

Armour was rejected for parole at his first hearing in 2001.

The Pasco-Pinellas State Attorney's Office objects to Armour's release.

"We feel it's inappropriate to release him at this time," said Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett, who will attend Wednesday's parole hearing.

Armour's relatives could not be reached for comment.

Prison officials agree with a parole examiner that Armour should be released, according to state records. The parole examiner's report says Armour has received "outstanding ratings" for his behavior and work assignments in prison.

Should he be released, Armour told officials, he plans to live in his brother's house in Michigan.

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