Family protests West Allis killer's release from prison: 'Just wrong'

Johanna Balsewicz's family wants justice for her 1997 murder.

The family of the West Allis homicide victim is protesting the parole of her killer – who is set to be released from prison next week after serving less than 30 years of an 80-year sentence.

"We are here fighting for her. We are the voice of Jojo, and we are not going to stop until justice is severed," said Theresa Cooke, the victim's sister.

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"For this family, if we don’t want to lose faith in the system, the only way the story can end is with them overturning it, and he stays in prison," said Mike Binder, the victim's brother.

Douglas Balsewicz was sentenced to 80 years in prison with parole eligibility. He was denied on his first possible parole date in 2017. The Wisconsin Parole Commission said he has met all requirements, and is now approved to be released on May 17. The commission's decision is final.

Johanna Balsewicz

Thursday, Johanna's family went to Gov. Tony Evers' office to ask him to reverse the parole decision. They got to speak to Evers' chief off staff, Maggie Gau. 

"I'm going to take Maggie at her word because that’s what she asked of us, but actions speak louder than words," said Kim Cornils, the victim's sister.

Douglas Balsewicz

"The governor's secretary promised us a meeting with Gov. Evers before May 17 to talk about whether he commends the decision and whether he will overturn it," said Cooke. 

The family believes there is only one way the story can end.

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"I’m sure there's a whole lot of people in prison that should get out, but not a murder, and not only after serving 24 years of a sentence," said Binder. "It's just wrong."

The family also told FOX6 News that no meeting with the governor has been set up yet.