COLUMBIA, S.C. – The family of a Clemson University student who was raped and strangled said the man accused of killing her should not have been released from a Florida prison where he was sentenced for a similar crime.
Jerry Inman, 35, was charged with kidnapping, rape and murder in the death of 20-year-old student Tiffany Marie Souers, whose body was found two weeks ago with the bikini top still around her neck. He was released from a Florida prison in September after serving about 16 years of a 30-year sentence for a kidnapping and rape conviction.
The case has been heart-wrenching for Souers' family, who live in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue, Mo.
"He definitely should not have been out of prison," Souers' father, Jim, said after Inman was captured.
Inman was convicted of attacking two women in their Tampa, Fla., apartment in 1987 when he was 16. Police said he woke up the women, used a telephone cord to bind their hands and feet, and raped one of them before stealing a purse and car. Both women survived the attack.
Ever since he was released from prison in September, police said he has confessed to hunting for women to attack. He is accused of assaults in Tennessee and Alabama, both connected to Inman after news reports of his arrest in South Carolina earlier this week.
Police have said he admitted to the crimes in all three states, but Inman's attorney said he "never directly" confessed.
Inman was convicted before Florida changed its law to require inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. Florida prisons officials said inmates now serve an average of 85.4 percent of their sentences compared with 62 percent in 1995.
"Certainly, it's too late. It's not going to do any good for the family," said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.
Inman only served about seven years of his sentence in Florida. He served the first nine years in North Carolina for a different sex offense. While in the North Carolina prison, Inman attempted at least twice to escape, records show. And he had two dozen infractions including weapons possession, disobeying orders and provoking assault.