Convicted killer turns to law upon his release from prison

Paul Komyatti Jr. said he has no interest in returning to Lake County
2009-01-02T00:00:00Z Convicted killer turns to law upon his release from prisonMARISA KWIATKOWSKI

SOUTH BEND | A region man serving time for his part in slaying and decapitating his father plans to perch on a different side of the law upon his release.

Paul Komyatti Jr., 43, who was 17 when he was sentenced in 1983 to prison for the slaying, has a job lined up as a paralegal in an Indianapolis law firm upon his release.

After 26 years in prison garb, Komyatti, formerly of Hammond, said it was time for a new image.

He is 132 days -- and counting -- from finishing a prison sentence for helping family members with the decapitation murder of his father, Paul Komyatti Sr.

Komyatti said he will leave prison armed with three bachelor's degrees from Ball State University and a thick file of accomplishments.

"My life is going in a certain direction, and I'm going to follow it," Komyatti said. "I'm not trying to make up for 26 years in prison. That's impossible."

Komyatti was transferred in September from state prison to the South Bend Work Release Center. He worked a second-shift industrial job in Elkhart, Ind., until the entire shift was laid off.

Judi Jellicoe, assistant superintendent for the South Bend Work Release Center, said Komyatti is cooperative and anxious to rejoin society.

"There really is no life as he knew it out there for him," she said. "What I've noticed the most is he tries so hard to be what he thinks you want him to be because no one has taught him. ... Behind his confident facade, he's scared to death."

Komyatti grew up in prison, a teenager when "the case" -- as he refers to his father's murder -- happened.

Komyatti shied away from revisiting that part of his past during a recent interview with The Times.

"I define myself by who I am," he said. "That particular day doesn't define who I am."

Komyatti remembers himself as a "square" honor roll student and football player at Morton High School who was ready to join the military.

"Sometimes little memories come back, but almost all my memories are from a prison setting behind a prison wall," he said.

For the past eight years, Komyatti has been fighting to be released. He would already be free if the Indiana Department of Correction hadn't denied him more than 1,000 days of good-time credit for disciplinary issues while Komyatti was incarcerated, court records state.

A spokeswoman for the DOC said Komyatti was restored all but 383 days of his credit time.

Komyatti said he wants to live Indianapolis after prison -- a place where he could have a fresh start and a relative degree of anonymity. He is appealing to the courts to let him serve parole in Marion County rather than returning to Lake County.

"I have no place to go in Lake County," he said. "I don't want to go to Lake County."

His first wish upon release? Solitude.

"I want to be alone," he said. "I haven't been alone in 26 years."

The senior Komyatti's wife, Rosemary, is serving a 100-year sentence for murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

William Vandiver was executed Oct. 16, 1985. His wife -- Paul Komyatti Jr.'s sister Mariann -- served two years in prison for assisting a criminal. Paul Komyatti Jr. said the last time he saw Mariann was when she testified against him.]]>

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