SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Collier Landry got text messages offering congratulations when the Ohio Parole Board denied his father's latest attempt at parole.
The Dec. 2 decision means former Mansfield osteopathic physician John Boyle Jr., 77, will spend at least five more years in prison for the 1989 New Year's Eve murder of Noreen Boyle -- his wife and Landry's mother.
"I don't think congratulations is really the best choice of words," said Landry, now a 42-year-old Los Angeles-based cinematographer and filmmaker. "Congratulations is something to say when someone wins the lottery. Something like this is a little more touchy and bittersweet, I suppose.
"This is sort of a tough one."
Landry was a key prosecution witness in the July 1990 trial of his father.
"On the one hand, it's a challenge because of the heinous crime my father committed and his overall lack of remorse for what he did and the impact it had on so many people, the collateral damage it did," said Landry, who was 12 when he took the witness stand in the month-long "trial of the century" in Richland County Common Pleas Court.
"At the same time ... it's my father."
In its unanimous decision, the parole board said it found "given the seriousness of Offender Boyle's crimes, marked by extreme brutality, callousness reflected in his treatment of the victim's body and extended victimization, his release at this time would create an undue risk to public safety, thereby rendering him unsuitable for release."
The board also said there is "substantial reason to believe that due to the seriousness nature of the crime, the release of the inmate into society would create undue risk to public safety, or ... the release of the inmate would not further the interest of justice or be consistent with the welfare and security of society."
Landry did a renowned documentary on the killing in 2017, "A Murder in Mansfield," which included a face-to-face interview with his father inside the walls of the Marion Correctional Institution.
Boyle was convicted of murdering his wife inside their home on Dec. 31, 1989. Authorities believe he struck her in the head and then suffocated her with a plastic bag. He then wrapped her body in a tarp and drove it to his new home in Erie, Penn., burying it beneath the concrete basement floor.
He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison by Richland County Common Pleas Court Judge James Henson.
For nearly three decades, Boyle publicly denied any role in the death of his wife, who had filed for divorce in November 1989. For a long time, he even denied the body found in Erie was that of his wife.
But during the prison interview with Landry, Boyle said he and his wife were arguing and she "came at me" with a knife. Boyle said he pushed Noreen Boyle and she fell, striking her head on a wooden table.
He claimed to have attempted to administer CPR, but "she was lifeless, she was dead."
"I panicked," he said in the documentary. "I put the plastic bag over her head because I was afraid to look at her, scared to look at her."
It seems clear Boyle has still not come to terms with his crime, even with the admissions made during the prison interview with his son.
Landry said he considered testifying before the parole board during the Nov. 25 hearing. But the idea of traveling to Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to a film set in California was just not a good idea.
What would Landry have told parole board members?
"I don't really know," he said. "He is in prison for committing a heinous crime. Is it better that he just stay there? It's a tough situation all the way around."
With his father now behind bars for three decades, Landry said the fictional character Brooks Hatlen in the movie Shawshank Redemption comes to his mind.
Hatlen, played by James Whitmore in the film made in Mansfield, was in prison as an inmate so long he struggled mightily to cope in a remarkably changed world after his release.
"Brooks had no understanding of how society works. Think of all the changes in the last five years, let alone 30. How well will my father adjust? Is he equipped with the tools to come out of incarceration and become a valuable member of society to himself and others?" Landry asked.
Boyle would be 82 when his next chance at parole comes around, having spent 43 percent of his life behind bars. Landry has found peace, whether his father is released or not, even to the notion Boyle could die behind prison walls.
"It's tragic, any way you look at it. If that's the way it ends, I don't know how I would feel about it. It's sad," Landry said. "I am not angry. I am not bitter. When I left (the documentary interview), I told him I loved him ... I can't change him.
"I can just continue to be grateful for the life I have and the experience this has given me to be a better person and at the same time, use my experience to help others to lead a joyful life and meet their goals," Landry said.
"I am so grateful for the support in the community for me and my journey. (Boyle) is a monster to a lot of people and a lot of people have to come to terms with that. He is also my father and I have had to come to terms with that."