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Baseball pitcher's widow outraged as murderer gets out 10 years early

Neal Evans convicted of the second degree murder of an Atlanta Braves pitcher was released from prison. WPTV's Ryan Calhoun reports.

The wife of Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Dave Shotkoski is reliving the anger and pain of her husband’s murder with news that the killer was released from prison in Florida on Tuesday, after serving just 15 years of his 27-year sentence.

"We have to make the government accountable to me and everybody, explain how the justice system works," said Felicia Shotkoski, 46, now a business manager in Chicago, who was informed of the release by an automated message from the Florida Department of Corrections. "I don’t believe this person is reformed … He is now walking the streets with my daughter, friends, family … It’s just not safe."

Neal Evans, now 47, was convicted in 1997 of second-degree murder for killing the baseball player in a botched robbery in front of a West Palm Beach Hotel in 1995. His first trial on a charge of first-degree murder ended with a hung jury, with the jurors voting 11-1 in favor of conviction. The case resulted in a plea deal and a 27-year sentence.


Evans had been imprisoned at South Bay Correctional Facility in South Bay, Florida. Prison officials told Shotkoski that Evans was released early because he earned “gain time” for good behavior in prison. Evans is on probation, living with his girlfriend, and has a nighttime curfew, said Shotkoski, citing information from Florida corrections officials.

"Has to report once a month, and follow his guidelines, which are laughable," she said.

Video and story from WPTV in West Palm Beach

Florida prison records show that this was Evans’ seventh prison sentence. He was sentenced to serve one to three years for convictions for robbery, grand theft auto, cocaine possession, carrying a concealed weapon and other charges dating back to 1988. In five cases, Evans was released before serving his whole sentence.

"Our justice system doesn't make sense," said Shotkoski, who hoped her story would highlight the problem of repeat offenders cycling in and out of the prisons. "They're supposed to protect people like us, yet it seems to save the criminals' rights over the victims."

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