Letters to the Editor

The decomposed body of 16-year-old Mary Earline Bunch, her hands and feet bound with rope, was found buried on Folly Beach in April 1974. She had been missing since Feb. 20, 1974. The rope used to tie Miss Bunch was similar to that used in the abduction of three 16-year-old girls from Summerville.

The girls told police they were walking on the beach when an armed man approached them and forced them under a vacant house. He then gagged the girls and tied them with clothes line.

Later, one of the girls managed to slip out of her gag. Fortunately, a passing police officer heard her yelling.

The remains of two girls, Alexis Ann Latimer, 13, and Sheri Jan Clark, 14, missing from Folly Beach since May 23, 1973, were unearthed on April 17, 1974. Police found the grave of the two girls a short distance from where the body of Miss Bunch was discovered.

Navy authorities told police of an assault previously reported to them after the Bunch girls' body was found. A suspect, Richard Raymond Valenti, was identified from Navy photos.

Valenti was indicted on three counts of murder for the deaths of the three girls at Folly Beach. He was also indicted on one count of assault and battery with intent to kill and one charge of assault and battery with intent to ravish.

He was also charged on four counts of assault with intent to kill stemming from the abduction of the three Summerville girls and one similar incident in which a girl was found tied up behind the James Island shopping center.

The Charleston County Medical Examiner testified at the Valenti murder trial that the two teen-age girls found buried on Folly Beach died by hanging. In a taped statement, Valenti described how he approached the girls on the beach with a gun and told them if they did not comply with his orders he would shoot them.

He then took them to a vacant house where in an outside shower stall he had them partially disrobe and tied their hands and feet.

Valenti said he made the girls undress and pose in various positions, and then had them stand on a chair while he placed nooses round their neck and tied the rope to water pipes above their heads. Valenti then kicked the chair out from under them and watched them struggle till they died.

On June 2, 1974, Valenti was found guilty of murder in the hanging deaths of the two James Island girls and was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment, to be served consecutively.

The prosecutor asked for the death penalty for Valenti, which was denied by the judge because of the unconstitutionality of the state's capital punishment law at the time. Valenti was never tried for the four counts of assault with intent to kill stemming from the abduction of the three Summerville girls and the girl from James Island.

Valenti comes up for parole every two years, and his next projected paroled date is Jan. 2, 2008. His Department of Corrections ID Number is 00071878.

I respectfully request that the good people of South Carolina ask the Parole Board to deny parole to Valenti. Let him serve the prison sentence he received — two consecutive life sentences.

The petitions and letters should be sent to:

The Board of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, P.O. Box 50666, Columbia, S.C. 29250. E-mails may be sent to www.dppps.sc.gov, or to Teri Porcel in the Solicitor's Office at: teri@scsolicitor9.org. Under contacts, choose deny parole and fill in the information requested.

Please send an e-mail to the people in your contacts list asking them to do the same and to also forward this on to their contacts. We must keep this serial killer in prison where he belongs.

EDWARD R. FEDOL308 Upsur CourtSummervilleThis letter was also signed by Janice Clark, the mother of Sheri Jan Clark.