CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found a new fight for justice 30 years after a local mother was murdered when her boyfriend used his pit bull as a weapon.
Jeffrey Mann became the first man ever convicted for having his dog kill someone. Now, he could get out of prison.
The family of Dolly Kaplan wants to stop that, and, for the first time, her oldest daughter is speaking out.
“She was always there for us,” Nicole Kaplan said.
Nicole was just eight years old at the time of the crime, and she has found the courage to speak up in the hopes of convincing the parole board to keep Mann locked up.
“I only have blips of memories of hugs and cuddles, watching movies, baking cookies, having Christmas. So, while he only gets a certain amount of time, I will be serving a life sentence.”
The case began in Cleveland in 1992. Dolly Kaplan suffered more than 300 dog bites.
The conviction of Mann became a landmark case making headlines everywhere.
Homicide detective Michaelene Taliano led the investigation. She has told the I-Team previously, “he should spend his life in the penitentiary. This was an exceptional, cruel murder.”
“This type of mentality doesn’t change. His crime itself was cold and callous, and he tried to hide it,” Nicole Kaplan added.
Mann went to prison for 15 years to life. So, why should he get out now after nearly 30 years? He will get a chance to try to explain why. The parole board will ask him questions before deciding if he should get released.
“I see no evidence of any remorse on his part,” the victim’s mother, Joyce Ragels, said.
Ragels has fought against parole in this case before and she’ll never stop.
“I’ll do whatever I can, when I can and wherever I can because I believe I owe this to my daughter,” she added.
Nicole Kaplan still keeps a childhood gift she got from her mom, a stuffed animal.
“This is one of the few things that I still have with me,” she said.
Decades later, the fight for justice is not over.
“I am 11 years older than my mom was when she was murdered. Age is a privilege that she was denied,” Nicole Kaplan added.
The Department of Corrections told us the parole hearing will happen in early May.
If you would like your voice heard in some way on this case, go here. The case involves inmate number A283016