GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The family of a Mississippi trooper murdered more than 20 years ago says the woman sentenced to life in prison should serve life in prison. Bruce Ladner was shot to death in 1987. Convicted murderer Anita Krecic is up for parole next month. The Ladner family is asking for the community's help to keep her in prison.
A face in a photograph is the only way Brandon Ladner's four-year-old daughter Bailey will ever know her grandfather. When Brandon Ladner was 11-years-old, his father, Bruce Ladner, was murdered.
"It changed our lives completely," said Brandon Ladner. "Looking back now I feel I'm very fortunate to have overcome the situation. I remember what I went through, and I pretty much thought it destroyed us. It took a lot of years to actually overcome it."
The Mississippi Highway Patrol continues to lay a wreath at trooper Bruce Ladner's grave 22 years after the traffic stop that ended his life. His killers, Anita Krecic and her boyfriend Tracy Allen Hansen, were both fugitives in 1987.
"We were always told that they were like the Bonnie and Clyde of Florida," said Brandon Ladner. "That's where they were from. There were multiple felony crimes committed in Florida, and they were wanted. When they were pulled over on Interstate 10 in Long Beach by my dad for speeding violations, they had all that in mind. [They] were thinking they were wanted, and he was going to end up finding that out. That's why my father was killed."
Krecic was in her late 20s when Bruce Ladner was murdered. Brandon Ladner says she wasn't a teenager who made a mistake, but an adult who knew what she was doing. He worries that if paroled, she'll go back to crime and will kill again to avoid prison.
"If she was to get out of prison and commit another crime, would she be willing to kill another law enforcement officer or any civilian that may interfere with her life of crime?" said Brandon Ladner. "I don't think that paroling her is worth the risk."
Brandon Ladner says he doesn't want another family to go through what his family has endured. He says his father was one of the most generous people he's ever known, and the person who took Bruce Ladner's life should have to pay for the rest of her life.
Anita Krecic's boyfriend Tracy Allen Hansen was executed for Bruce Ladner's murder in 2002. Bruce Ladner's brother, Kirk Ladner, is also against granting Krecic's parole.
"She committed a murder. She should never be released," Kirk Ladner said. "I feel like she should have had the punishment that Tracy Allen Hansen did. I feel like she was the worse of the two. She promoted it."
Kirk Ladner said, "I don't feel like she has rehabbed. I don't think she should have the opportunity to walk the streets."
The Ladner family is asking the community to form petitions and write letters. Then send them to the state parole board to keep Anita Krecic from being released.