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A Wilson man who was convicted in 1983 in connection to the beating death of a young teen boy outside a neighborhood grocery has been approved for parole in 2020.
Fifty-two-year-old Edward Tyrone Meachem has been serving a life sentence in the November 1982 killing of 13-year-old Donald Eugene Klein and the attempted armed robbery of Klein and his older brother, Edward Klein Jr., who survived the attack.
In May, the state’s Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission said Meachem’s case was up for parole consideration as a part of the Mutual Agreement Parole Program. That’s an education and vocational program where an agreement is made between the commission, Division of Prisons and the offender, state officials say.
The commission approved Meachem’s parole Wednesday, according to a notification letter. Under the agreement, Meachem’s scheduled release date is Oct. 25, 2020.
Meachem pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and two counts of attempted armed robbery.
On March 25, 1983, Meachem was sentenced to life in prison plus 14 years prior to the state’s current structured sentencing guidelines, which eliminate parole for crimes committed on or after Oct. 1, 1994. The commission has the responsibility of paroling offenders who were sentenced under previous guidelines.
Meachem was 16 years old when the crime was committed. He is currently incarcerated in the Lanesboro Correctional Institution in Polkton.
Meachem is one of four teenagers who pleaded guilty in the boy’s beating death. Robert G. Hines, Edward Earl Dew and Lorenzo Williams were also charged in connection to the killing and attempted robbery. All were charged with second-degree murder and attempted armed robbery and received life sentences in the case.
On the night of Nov. 22, 1982, the younger Klein and his brother rode to the Quick Stop Mart at the intersection of Gold Street and Oak Avenue and went inside, according to The Wilson Times archives. When they left, Dew and three others decided to rob the boys, according to previous police statements.
Dew pushed the younger Klein boy and struck him on the side with a stick before rummaging through the boy’s pockets, according to Dew’s statement to police at the time, which was read at his sentencing in 1983. It was the fatal blow to the head that killed the 13-year-old, prosecutors have said. Hines and Dew were 17 at the time and Williams, who is unable to hear or speak, was 24, according to reports.
Another perpetrator struck the older Klein brother, who was 16 at the time, when he yelled out, according to Times archives. The robbers fled the scene but were arrested five days later. The younger Klein died as a result of his injuries.
Dew was released from prison in 2008, while Hines was released in 2011, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.
Williams is currently serving a life sentence in the Klein brothers’ case as well as a first-degree rape conviction in an unrelated case. The charges were consolidated for sentencing.