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Newton County murderer denied parole
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ATLANTA - The State Board of Pardons and Paroles recently denied parole for Raymond Lamar Graham, 43. In 1994, Graham was convicted of murdering Bertha Ware, 78. He received a life sentence. This was the second time the Parole Board denied Graham parole, who was last reviewed in 2000.

On January 7, 1993, shortly after 3 p.m., Covington police officers responded to 2111 Conyers Street in Covington to investigate an open door at Ware's residence. Upon arrival, police officers discovered Ware's body in the bedroom of the residence, lying half way on the bed. She had been raped and strangled. Several objects were determined to be missing from the residence including a television, a handbag and jewelry. Graham was identified as a suspect after several individuals said Graham attempted to sell them a television and several rings. Two of the rings and the television were located and linked back to Graham.

Parole Board Chairman Garland R. Hunt said, "The Parole Board denounces all criminal activity and violence, but this type of reprehensible victimization, of the most vulnerable of our society, requires severe punitive measures. Parole is denied."

"The nature of his crime is what's keeping him in there," said Scheree Lipscomb, director of public affairs for the Parole Board. "(The victim) was in no way able to fight him back." According to Lipscomb, Graham hadn't received a disciplinary report since 1999.

Georgia statute requires that all inmates serving life sentences be considered for parole at specified intervals. Approximately 50 percent of the 6,000 inmates serving life sentences in Georgia's prison system have been reviewed by the Parole Board and denied parole at least one time.

Graham is serving his sentence at Hancock State Prison in Sparta. He is up for review again in 2016.

For more information on the Parole Board, go to