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Eligible for parole

Hauser murder convict up for release

T-R FILE PHOTO Jayson Speaks is shown at a hearing in a Marshall County courtroom.

A convicted murderer of Rebecca Hauser is up for parole this month.

Jayson Speaks will be seen by the Iowa Board of Parole at 9:10 a.m. Oct. 16 at the Iowa Board of Parole, 510 E. Twelfth St., Des Moines. This will be the third time he is up for parole.

Speaks and twin brothers Burt and Derek Smith were all 15 years old when they shot and stabbed Hauser to death on a county road one mile east of Liscomb on Oct. 4, 1994.

Originally from Missouri, the teenagers, along with accomplice Blake Privitt, were running away to Canada and intended to rob Hauser as a way of funding their trip.

Hauser, 32, was heading back home on the night of Oct. 4, 1994 when she was pulled over by flashing emergency lights. Speaks, the brothers and Privitt had emergency lights affixed on top of their Chevrolet Blazer.

T-R file photo Jayson Speaks is shown at a hearing in a Marshall County courtroom in 2014, nearly 20 years after he was convicted for the murder of Rebecca Hauser.

Burt Smith shot Hauser in the back of the head with a .22-caliber gun. She was also stabbed and beaten.

Speaks and the Smith brothers were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and Privitt was sentenced to 75 years. However, in August 2013, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that life sentences for juveniles were illegal.

That ruling opened the door for Speaks and the Smiths’ to be re-sentenced and gain the possibility of parole, which they were granted.

The Smith brothers were eligible for parole in October 2018 but were denied.

The parole board may consider the following factors when it comes to the determination of whether or not to grant parole to Speaks:

• The nature and circumstances of the offense

• Length of time served

• Psychiatric evaluations

• Attitude and behavior while incarcerated

• Participation in institutional programs and more.

The 25-year-old case in particular resonates with Marshall County Sheriff Steve Hoffman. It was the first murder case he worked and Hoffman was the first law enforcement officer on the scene.

Through the Hauser case, Hoffman said his views on the treatment of victims was changed. Having the experience made him more considerate of how people process trauma and he makes it a point to check on people who have had traumatic experiences.

“An unfortunate by-product of the Supreme Court ruling is that victims and survivors are re-victimized each time a parole opportunity comes up,” he said. “That sense of closure and healing for the victims and the surviving families is gone. Her children have to live their lives while waiting on a decision from the parole board. Victims have shared with me what they go through. They live with the losses every single day and the parole process is like ripping off a Band Aid and making them relive it again. The process loses sight of the people who really matter — the survivors.”

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Contact Lana Bradstream at

641-753-6611 or

lbradstream@timesrepublican.com