This petition is in memory of PFC Mark Schafer, a United States Soldier from Essexville, Michigan. Our beloved Mark was just 19 when he was violently murdered.
On March 27, 2014 Mark’s family received notification that Mark’s killer, Clay Hayward, was granted the opportunity to a public hearing for parole. Mark’s family and friends vehemently oppose Clay Hayward's release. Please read Mark's story and a summary of the facts of this case below. I am Mark's sister and I think, without hesitation, you will sign this petition opposing the release of Clay Hayward.
Shortly before Christmas 1991, my brother, Mark Roland Schafer, a young soldier stationed at Ft. Carson in Colorado received word that he had been awarded a new assignment at Ft. Richardson in Alaska. Mark was excited and so was our family. In fact, so excited, our parents were already making plans to visit their son. In mid January 1992 Mark packed and shipped his simple belongings, said goodbye to his friends in Colorado and took leave to visit his family in Michigan prior to reporting to Ft. Richardson. Somehow in the last year Mark had been spared deployment during the Gulf War. To our family Alaska sounded safe, but no place seemed more safe than our hometown of Essexville, Michigan. Mark arrived home. Our Mom and Dad were thrilled. Mark, a social and lively young man had made plans for every day he was home in Michigan. Life was a celebration when he was around. We could have never imagined these were the final days of Marks life.
On January 24th 1992 Mark made plans to spend the evening with a few close friends from high school. As the evening came to a close Mark found himself at the home of an old friend Kris Kramer. Kris Kramers girlfriend and her close friend, a woman named Deborah, a girl my brother had met just a few times we also at the home. The two young women had requested that Mark and Kris Kramer accompany them to the home of Clay Hayward, someone my brother did not know. Clay Hayward and Debra were dating. Clay had been furious with her that day for reasons that had nothing to do with my Mark. Clay Hayward wanted Debra to come to his home where there was a party. He was demanding she return an article of clothing to him. He was making threats toward her and others. This aggressive behavior was not out of the ordinary for Clay Hayward. Mark did not balk at the idea of driving with his friends to the home. Mark was hungry and one of his favorite restaurants was near this home. He offered to buy the friends a late night meal once they were done at Clay Hayward's home. Mark drove the nearly ten miles. He parked outside the home and he and his friend Kris waited for the girls to come out, when they did not Kris Kramer who was familiar with the home and the people inside led the way into the gathering. Inside the home Deborah told Kris Kramer and Mark Schafer that there had been a physical confrontation between Mr. Hayward and herself. At that time they decided it would be best to leave the situation. Mark was on active duty, he did not want to be in any trouble. As the two women, Kris Kramer and Mark Schafer made their way towards the back door of the home Clay Hayward appeared. As Clay Hayward's own attorney described him he was “white knuckle angry”-he had been punching counter tops. His aggression was no longer focused toward his girlfriend it was now directed toward Mark Schafer and Kris Kramer for coming into his home. They assured him they were leaving. As they began to exit the home Mr. Hayward continued with his aggressive manner and tone. Mark turned to Mr. Hayward and asked, “Why do you have to be such a tough guy? Why do you have to beat up on girls?” At the back door of his home Clay Hayward produced a hand gun and shot Mark in the face. Mark collaped to the floor, his body slammed the door to the home shut. Clay continued his rampage and shot Mark once again in the head, the neck and twice in the chest. He then kicked Mark as he lie dying on the floor and he threw the gun at Mark so hard that the trigger broke from the gun. My brother never raised a hand to Clay Hayward and never threatened him in any way.
Never in my life will I forget watching my Mother collapse to the floor and my father trying to comfort her as they sobbed over the loss of their son.
Clay Hayward was tried for First Degree Murder and subsequently convicted and sentenced to Life in Prison under Second Degree Murder.
Clay Hayward appealed his conviction and in 1996 The Michigan Court of Appeals reviewed his case. The courts affirmed his conviction and life sentence. The court found there was overwhelming evidence to convict Clay Hayward and no error was made in his conviction.
Clay Hayward is what the Michigan Department of Corrections refers to as a "Lifer". The absurdity of this term is that despite his life sentence Clay Hayward actually has opportunities to apply for parole. At this time he has now served 22 years of his "life Sentence"
On March 27, 2014 our family received notification that Clay Hayward was granted consideration and a public hearing for parole.
Factors considered by the Parole Board in making parole decisions include the nature of the offense, the prisoner's criminal history, prison behavior, program performance, age, parole guidelines score, risk as determined by various validated assessment instruments and information obtained during the prisoner\'s interview as well as information from crime victims and other relevant sources.
Because the parole board considers information obtained through the crime victims, I will be sharing both a written letter and a verbal statement on behalf of my family. I will also be presenting this petition and as well as letters from those of you who also oppose Clay Hayward's release.
Please sign this petition if you oppose the release of this man who so violently murdered, my brother, Mark Roland Schafer.
Regardless if you knew Mark or know our family I encourage you to also write a letter to the Michigan Parole Board opposing Clay Hayward’s Release.
You are also welcome to come to the public parole hearing at 9 am on May 8th, 2014 in Ionia, Michigan at the Richard Handlon Correctional Facility, 1728 West Bluewater Highway.
In Memory of PFC Mark Roland Schafer
February 11, 1972- January 25th, 1992
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