Family will fight to keep boy's killer behind bars

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WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. —

A family is still fighting to keep their little boy's killer behind bars.  Ryan Hacke was just 14 months old when he was shot while sitting in his car seat at a gas station in West Mifflin 17 years ago.

Next week, his parents plan to travel to Harrisburg to make sure the man who was convicted of pulling the trigger doesn’t get an early release.  They’ll talk to a parole board about Vaughn Mathis who is up for parole this year.

“We knew this day was coming, but you’re never ready for it,” said Mary Beth Hacke.

The Hackes will be be the first family ever to give an impact statement in front of the parole board to try to keep Mathis in jail for the maximum sentence of 43 years.

The couple started an online petition, and it already has close to 10,000 signatures.  They plan to bring it to Harrisburg along with letters from the community.

The Hackes said the pain of the 1997 shooting has never gone away.

“It was just so hard to believe,” said Tom Hacke.