Nathan Gast, 36, formerly of Hueytown, was released from prison last week, following a Bessemer judge’s ruling vacating his life sentence, and re-sentencing him to time served – about 20 years. Gast was convicted in the 1992 beating deaths of two Blount County boys, Mollan Allen Eakes, 15, and Kevin Eugene Duncan, 14.
The killings were committed by a trio of youths: Gast, Carvin Stargell, and Christopher Thrasher, all teens at the time, and all said to be members of a street gang called Insane Gangster Disciples. Eakes and Duncan were killed with a baseball bat and a girl, Ginger Minor, was beaten and seriously injured, but later recovered to testify against the three. Stargell and Thrasher were convicted and sentenced to life without parole. Gast was given a life sentence.
That fact played a part in his release, according to a statement by Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey.
“To be clear, Gast did not receive a sentence of life without the possibility of parole when he was sentenced in 1994. Instead, Gast received a sentence of life with the possibility of parole. Gast has been up for parole more than once and has been denied by the Board of Pardons and Parole each time. In essence a judge, who did not hear the facts of the trial, granted a petition to allow Gast to be re-sentenced. It saddens me that the families of the victims have to relive this nightmare and a killer now walks on our streets.”
According to information supplied by Casey from the Alabama Crime Victim’s Rights, item (3) of section 15-23-75 states:“The status of any post-conviction court review or appellate proceeding or any decisions arising from those proceedings shall be furnished to the victim by the office of the Attorney General or the office of the district attorney, whichever is appropriate, immediately after the status is known.”
Betty Klinger, of Straight Mountain, was the mother of Kevin Duncan. She said that neither she nor the Eakes family was notified of the last week’s hearing before Bessemer Circuit Court Judge David Carpenter.
“Why, sure. I’d have been there if I’d known,” she said.“They didn’t let us know anything. It’s like it was done undercover. We should’ve been there. I would’ve been there. It was like they sneaked and did it. They didn’t want us there. He (Gast) is as guilty as the other ones. It was him that held Kevin and Allen while the other one – Stargell – hit’em with the bat.
“The thing that hurts me worst was that Kevin was always in church. He was a good boy. He ended up with that gang only through an accident.”
She explained that he had gone to the skating rink that night, and didn’t have a ride home. He ended up riding with a friend he hadn’t seen in quite a while. He called home to tell his mother that Allen Eakes was giving him a ride home. Instead, the two Oneonta boys were taken to Bessemer with the teens who were in the gang.
“I don’t know how they worked it out to release him. I wish I understood.