The killer of an elderly Akron neighbor will remain behind bars -- the State's Parole Board turning down a bid by Dale Collins to exit life behind bars for the 1975 brutal robbery-murder of Helen Shay.
Prosecutors here in Summit County took the step of asking for public help in locating family and friends of the victim, citing the long period since the crime and difficulty in notifying surviving relatives that Collins was up for parole consideration.
Collins pushed Shay down the steps of her home, kicked her and then choked her with a dog chain before he and his accomplices ransacked her home and fled on December 23, 1975; Shay's body on Christmas Eve by her sister.
Collins will be eligible for another parole hearing in 2015, at which point he will have served 40 years of a life sentence.
(Summit County Prosecuting Attorney) The Ohio Parole Board denied parole to Dale Collins, who brutally murdered his elderly neighbor, Helen Shay, in 1975.
Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh requested a hearing with the entire board after the board recommended Collins be paroled. The Victim Services Division typically notifies victims and their families of upcoming parole hearings. However, there was no information about Shay’s surviving family. Prosecutor Walsh appealed to the public to find the victim’s family so that they could have an opportunity to tell the board how they have been impacted by Shay’s murder.
“The Parole Board always considers the wishes of the victims and their families when deciding whether to parole an offender, especially when the crime is an old one,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “Because this murder happened so long ago, we didn’t know how to contact Mrs. Shay’s surviving family – or if she even had any family in the area anymore. Asking the public for help was a longshot, but the response was incredible. Within hours multiple family members contacted my office, and Mrs. Shay’s great-nephew spoke to the Parole Board yesterday about why his family opposed Dale Collins’ parole.”
On December 23, 1975, Dale Collins and Michael Spuller burglarized the home of Helen Shay, an elderly neighbor. Collins, who had shoveled her driveway earlier that day, called Shay and asked if she would like some company. She agreed but said she did not want him to bring anyone with him. Spuller waited outside while Collins knocked on Shay’s door. When she answered, Collins pushed her down the steps to the basement, kicked her several times and then choked her with a dog chain. After killing Shay, Collins, Spuller and Collins’ brother ransacked the home. Shay’s sister, Julia Davis, discovered the body on Christmas Eve.
Dale Collins was sentenced to life in prison for Aggravated Murder and Aggravated Burglary with parole eligibility after 20 years. Collins will again be considered for parole in November 2015, when he will have served almost 40 years in prison.