Convicted killer of Leesville woman denied parole a third time

Published 10:26 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A former Fort Polk soldier convicted in the 1988 kidnapping, rape and murder of a Leesville woman has been denied parole a third time.

Samuel Galbraith appeared before the Louisiana Probation and Parole board on Wednesday. His parole request was denied in a 2-1 vote; he can apply for parole again in two years.

Galbraith was convicted in 2000 of killing Karen Hill, who he kidnapped from a Leesville convenience store where she worked. Galbraith, a Texas native, was an active-duty soldier at Fort Polk at the time. Hill was married to a soldier stationed there.

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Retired Vernon Parish District Attorney Asa Skinner previously told the American Press that Galbraith kidnapped Hill, took her into a wooded area, raped her, tied her to a tree and shot her.

Skinner said Galbraith claimed he killed Hill “to live out a fantasy.”

The murder went unsolved for nine years until soldiers who served with Galbraith contacted the Vernon Parish DA’s Office to ask if they had any unsolved homicides that matched the “fantasy” detailed by Galbraith to them. He was later located in south Texas and expedited back to Louisiana to face his charges.

“This was a horrible, heinous crime and for that fact alone he does not deserve any kind of leniency. (Galbraith) says it was because he was hanging around a bad crowd, but it was in fact those members of this ‘bad crowd’ that called our office to report what he had done,” Skinner said.

Galbraith was sentenced to 71 years in prison, but a new law allowing first-time offenders over the age of 45 a chance for freedom allowed him to be considered for parole the first time in 2016. He was granted parole in November of 2016 and was due for release in April of 2017, but a technicality regarding the notification of the victim’s mother required that a new hearing be held.

Galbraith withdrew his request for a parole in August of 2017 and was denied parole during a 2020 hearing.