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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The man convicted in the 1984 murder of 10-year-old Danny O’Donnell in Lake County was granted parole on Wednesday.

Jeffrey Deel, 53, was sentenced to life in prison and previously denied parole eight times. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said parole board voted 7-2 to parole Deel on or after June 21.

Deel was 16 years old when he passed the O’Donnells’ home in Madison Township and invited Danny to the nearby Bennett Road Beach on Oct. 23, 1984. A short time later, the fifth grader was found face down in Lake Erie.

Jeffrey Deel (Photo courtesy: Ohio Department of Correction)

“I beat, strangled and drug his innocent, lifeless body into the lake and abandoned him there. Then lied and denied everything,” Deel wrote in a August 2021 letter to the O’Donnells.

“I know that if you are reading this letter, you are probably saying many things. Such as: I am still alive and Danny is not, or I got to enjoy life in prison and Danny is still gone, or you may have this or that and Danny has nothing– you took that away from us. I wish I could bring Danny back. I wish I could give you your son back.”

The O’Donnell family recently shared the letter with FOX 8 News as they fought to keep Danny’s killer behind bars. The organized letter-writing campaigns and online petitions.