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CBS6 Investigates: Notorious Capital Region killer up for parole

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In less than one week, the New York State Parole Board will hear the case of a Capital Region man convicted of murder in the late 1980s. Now, many who were involved in the case are looking back at what they remember.

In his 49th year of service, there's one day that Cohoes Assistant Police Chief Tom Ross will never forget.

"Just something was way off, the first hour,” Ross said.

In January of 1988, Ross responded to a call for an 18-year-old who went missing from her job at a group home.

"She had always called her mother, and that night she didn't get to,” Asst. Chief Ross said.

Karolyn Lonczak's remains were found eight weeks later. Leads brought police to Jeffrey Williams, who lived nearby.

"This here was an absolutely horrendous crime that stays in people's minds."

The case was quickly passed to state police, who knew Williams well.

"I had been called to a home in southern Saratoga County,” retired NYS Police Sgt. John Curry recalled. “A woman had been tied up and raped."

Curry responded to the first crime Williams was arrested for at 19 years old in 1980. He interviewed Williams in custody.

"We got talking and it was just a few minutes later that we started talking about the rape, and he confessed he had been there," Curry said.

This began a long history of conversations, and confessions, Curry says, from Williams.

"Hurting women, and his urges, and the things that kind of drove him," Curry said.

But at least one person still defends the now 59-year-old Williams.

"Forces of law enforcement were out to get him,” defense attorney Terry Kindlon told CBS6.

Kindlon defended Williams a number of times.

"I've never been quite clear on what it was that attracted the police interest in him," Kindlon said.

Williams' record with police dates back to 1980, beginning with the sodomy arrest. He served about seven years for that before he was released and accused of assaults, violated his parole, and put in jail for stealing a rocking chair from a garage. While serving time in the early 1990s, Williams was found not guilty for the murder of Rose Tullao, but he was convicted for killing Karolyn Lonczak.

"He was not a very conventional person but he was in my estimation, not a dangerous person at all,” Kindlon said.

He says without "great proof", he doesn't believe Williams to be guilty at all.

We asked if he thinks Williams should be paroled.

“Absolutely, unquestionably,” Kindlon said. “I don't think he should have been convicted in the first place."

Current Albany County DA David Soares wrote to the parole board.

"This is one of those individuals who I don't believe is qualified to walk among citizens in this community again, or in any community,” Soares said.

There were suspicions Williams was also involved in the disappearance of Karen Wilson, a UAlbany student in 1985.

"You still have people working at the NYS Police and in these police departments that continue to barrel through,” the DA said.

Former Sgt. Curry hopes the board continues to serve justice, with Williams remaining locked up.

“Jeffrey will never change,” Curry said. “Jeffrey wants to hurt women, he likes to hurt women - I don't think he'll change."

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CBS6 spoke with the Lonczak family over the phone. They, too, wrote letters to the parole board, but they said it was too painful to sit down and speak on camera. Thry asked us to share was that they hope to see Jeffrey Williams serve in prison for the rest of his life.

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