A Houston County family is fighting to keep a convicted killer in prison.
In 2013, a grand jury indicted Russell Holt on the charge of murder, but his case never went to trial.
That's because he agreed to plea guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter for shooting and killing his girlfriend, Jessica Wolfe.
A judge sentenced Holt to 20 years in prison, and now 6 years and a few months later, he is almost eligible for parole, but Wolfe's family wants him to remain behind bars.
"It's just a living nightmare," says Wolfe's sister, Ashley. Months ago, Ashley started a letter-writing campaign to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. She's asking people to remind the board how special her sister was.
"I don't even think 20 years is adequate," says Ashley.
On St. Patrick's Day 2012, after a night of partying, the couple went to Holt's house and got into an argument. Holt was a probation officer, and he used his state-issued gun to shoot and kill her.
Frank Hogue, Holt's defense attorney, says there was no question that his client shot Wolfe, but he planned to argue it was manslaughter, not murder.
"It's when you're doing the killing, but you're not in your right mind. Russell was taking some bodybuilding supplements and he was putting them together according to his own studies," says Hogue.
Hogue presented his argument to the prosecutor, Peter Skandalakis, from Coweta County, who accepted the plea deal.
Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig normally would have been the lead prosecutor on the case, but he recused himself, having worked with Wolfe for years. "As much as I wanted to, I just couldn't," says Hartwig. "I wouldn't have cut that deal, and I would've taken the case to trial."
Years later, Hartwig still disagrees with the plea bargain and speculates that if a jury had decided Holt's fate, Wolfe's friends and family might feel like justice was served.
"They probably just did it to get some sort of conviction, to know that he'd be behind bars, but it was definitely disheartening to know that they didn't do all that they could to try and keep him behind bars as long as possible," says Ashley.
Now, after just 6-and-a-half years, Holt could be granted parole. "There's no telling what the board is going to do," says Hartwig.
Ashley says that's why she's asking people to write to the parole board, reminding them that Holt took away the life of an innocent young woman, sister, and friend. "There's just nobody like your sister. It was just so tragic for her to leave us so early," says Ashley.
Ashley says when she was still alive, Jessica served as a Relay for Life team captain and was an avid animal shelter supporter. She says while nothing will bring her back, keeping Holt in prison for his maximum sentence will help her find some sort of peace.
Ashley started an online petition against granting Holt parole, which has already gained more than 4,000 signatures.
13WMAZ also reached out to Holt's family for comment, but did not receive a response.
By phone, Skandalakis told 13WMAZ that he stands by his choice to agree to the plea deal and would not change his decision.
Skandalakis also says he has personally written a letter to the state Pardons and Parole Board asking them to keep Holt behind bars his entire 20- year sentence.