WARREN - Ohio's Parole Board decided Wednesday to keep two convicted killers from Trumbull County behind bars for at least four more years after arguments in Columbus to deny parole for both men by Trumbull Prosecutor Dennis Watkins.
The board an-nounced in February its intention to release Mark Badilo, 44, and Jeff McClure, 44, who were convicted of killing Badilo's brother, Tim, whose body was burned Feb. 24, 1988.
It was then that Watkins applied for a full board hearing to argue the merits of keeping the men behind bars.
Besides Watkins, parents for each of the inmates spoke to board members along with two Trumbull County police chiefs, who worked the case as detectives.
''Don't get me wrong. I have sympathy for both families here. Both families should be praised for the support they have given their sons,'' Watkins said. ''But I still don't think the amount of punishment is sufficient for this kind of crime.''
The charred body of Tim Badilo, 24, formerly of DeForest Road S.E., Weathersfield, was found locked in the trunk of his 1987 Pontiac in a field on Bell Wick Road, Hubbard Township. The car had been set on fire.
The cause of death was undetermined for about three years until a material witness surfaced, telling police and prosecutors he was urged to take part in the murder that Badilo planned in order to take over the cleaning business the two brothers operated.
The witness wore a wire to gain admissions on how Tim Badilo was lured to a home and beaten over the head with a pool cue and then strangled before he was stuffed in his own car, remaining there for two to three days before the vehicle was set on fire.
The death originally was thought to be a suicide until the witness came forth after reading about the cold case in the Tribune Chronicle. He told authorities he feared retaliation from McClure, currently in Chillicothe Correctional Institution, and Badilo, an inmate in Richland Correctional Institution. Both men were turned down for parole in 2011.
Badilo's mother, Clara, spoke to the board over the phone from her home in Florida, stressing that she has missed the chance at living with at least one of her sons for more than 20 years.
McClure's stepfather, Jerry Wade, attended the hearing and asked for mercy while assuring that McClure would have a home waiting for him once he was released.
Howland police Chief Paul Monroe and Hubbard Township police Chief Todd Coonce explained some of their work, reopening the case and gaining admissions from the two suspects with help from the material witness.
The board read transcripts of the conversation between McClure and the witness who was wearing a wire.
Coonce also told board members that in the statement he got from Mark Badilo that the suspect admitted that his brother looked up at him from the trunk of the car, asking ''Why are you doing this to me? I'm your brother.''
McClure and Badilo were sentenced to 15 years to life on charges of murder, arson, abuse of a corpse and obstruction of justice. Watkins said both men should serve at least 30 years.