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Family of York County man killed in 1979 say his convicted killer should not be released from prison

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — For families who have lost a loved one, the holiday season can be a difficult time. A York County family says it’s especially dif...

YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- For families who have lost a loved one, the holiday season can be a difficult time.

A York County family says it's especially difficult this year.

Friday, the man who killed their brother will try to have his life sentence commuted.

"[Killed] for no reason, and to be left to die, and to not tell the family, his mother, to act like you didn't know anything, how could anybody have the chance to be back in society after doing that? Wrong is wrong, and right is right, and they were both wrong," said Angie Baker, a York County native.

Baker says Robert Altland stole her brother's life in 1979.

Altland shot 23-year-old John Zink before Altland and Bruce Silar left his body in the Codorus Creek in York County.

Altland is one of 15 prisoners in Pennsylvania who will petition before the state's Board of Pardons to have their life sentences commuted on Friday.

Zink's brothers and sisters will testify why Altland shouldn't be released. Baker says her family is being forced to relive what happened.

"I haven't heard my brother's voice in 40 years. Why should anyone be able to hear him?" asked Baker.

Baker says she was just 2-years-old when Robert Altland stole her brother's life.

"I have two memories: One is a black eye from him chasing me, and the second is his funeral. I was robbed of a brother," said Baker. "They have wrecked this family so much, and I can say that losing my brother has made me not get close to people. I don't get how you can take somebody's life. You're found guilty - life without parole. Where does it say you get a chance to live to want to see the outside world, to breathe air? It's not fair."

Even if the outcome isn't what she wants, Baker feels justice will one day be served.

"I have a lot of hate built up for them guys... a lot, but at the same time, he is going to meet his maker one day and that is who he has to answer to...not us, not the courts. He has to meet his maker and answer for what he did for us," added Baker.

Altland has applied for a commute hearing twice before. Both times his applications were denied. Baker says she hopes the board considers how it would feel if they were in her family's shoes.

Wednesday morning, FOX43 spoke with Lt. Governor John Fetterman about why he believes some inmates deserve to have their sentences commuted.

You can read more about that here.