Parker County family fights parole for wrong-way driver



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Posted on September 25, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 26 at 2:47 AM

BROCK, Texas  — A small windswept cemetery in west Parker County can be a lonely spot for what can be a lonely battle on behalf of four teenaged girls.

"It means everything to us that these girls are still remembered and still loved," said Liz Osina, looking at her daughter's large granite memorial.

The girls — Whitney Welch, Staci Lee, Mandi McWhorter and Lacey Osina — were all Brock High School cheerleaders and basketball players who were killed by a drunk driver in December, 1998.

Staci, Mandi and Lacey rest side by side.

"When we come out to clean up, we'll find a rose or a note," Osina said. She and her husband Mark are the only victims' parents who didn't separate. One mom and one dad have since died.

Ricky Carter, who drove the wrong way on Ranger Highway, got a 20-year sentence.

The Osinas fight to make sure he serves every minute, and they've been getting a lot of help from an unseen supporter.

Lenny Leatherman had never met any of the families, and had never been to the cemetery until Tuesday, where the Osinas embraced him.

But back in 2005, Leatherman co-founded a website called KeepRicky

"He can be forgiven by the whole community, but we want to see justice served," Leatherman said. "There's a difference between forgiveness and justice."

Leatherman encourages people to write the parole board. The Osinas are convinced the letters help.

Ask Lenny Leatherman how the heartfelt letters affect him, and he drops his head in silence.

The Osinas say as years pass and memories fade, it gets harder to enlist support.

The number of parole board letters is dwindling. Leatherman just posted an urgent appeal on his website.

Liz and Mark Osina are preparing to testify before the parole board next month, just as they do every year.