Trying to Remember a Murdered Mom

On or about September 3 Samuel Ayala will walk out of the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Dutchess County, New York. He has been in prison for more than four decades, serving a sentence of 25 years to life. 

Jason Minter and his sister Maggie are horrified.

In March 1977, their lives were forever changed when a swaggering Ayala, along with fellow criminals Willie Profit and James Walls, staged a frightening home invasion looking for something to steal to pay for drugs. Inside the home, two young mothers and their four little children were enjoying a playdate. The oldest child was six-year-old Jason.

New York State Mugshots of Samuel Ayala

Walls watched over the corralled kids while Ayala and Profit tortured and raped the women in an adjacent room. Before Ayala and his gang left they fatally shot Bonnie Minter and Sheila Watson multiple times.

“Ayala personally raped my mother. He personally shot my mother,” Jason, now 49, told me during a conversation last week. “I heard him as he got into the (getaway) van joking about his sexual prowess.

Young Jason testified at the traumatic trial which ended with the jury finding all three defendants guilty.  But for the Minter children only turmoil followed. Jason’s father remarried but that union turned out to be a disaster, exposing the kids to unspeakable abuse. Without their protective mother Jason and Maggie were left adrift.

Jason Minter wonders what his life would have been like if his mother had not been murdered by Samuel Ayala. Photo- Courtesy of Jason Minter
Jason Minter Today – He’s Spent a Lifetime Obsessed With WHY?

“I have no real memories of my mother other than related to the crime,” Jason said. “Other than that day it’s just a blank.”

Willie Profit died in prison in 2016. James Walls, who did not participate in the rapes and murders, was released that same year. In 2002, Ayala first came up for parole. Every two years Jason and Maggie have come forward to personally re-experience their horror and to beg the New York State Parole Board not to release the man who violated their mother and put bullets in her head. The sibling’s latest face-to-face appearance, which would have been in July but was interrupted by COVID-19 restrictions, was relegated to a teleconferencing call. Jason believes that worked in the killer’s favor. Parole was granted.

The New York Post Reported the Convictions in Jan. 1978

We hear that prisons are only releasing those at the end of their sentence or inmates who pose no danger to the public. That’s not true.

Space restrictions here allow me to detail just one of the many cases in which a so-called low-risk prisoner was released and then went on to commit serious crimes.

In Florida, career criminal Joseph Williams, serving time on a heroin charge, won an early Covid-19 release in March. He was then rearrested for a murder that occurred the day after he got out. Williams, 26, now stands accused of homicide, possession of heroin and a firearm.

Interesting to note that Samuel Ayala, like Joseph Williams, was a 26-year-old self-admitted drug addict and habitual criminal at the time of his most heinous crimes.*

True, Ayala has now served more than 40 years and he is 68 years old. So, are we to assume he is too old to commit future crimes? Are we sure he is completely rehabilitated and won’t seek to harm the two people who consistently fought to keep him behind bars – surviving siblings Jason and Maggie? 

Samuel Ayala’s 2014 New York State Mugshot

“He knows I am the one who spearheaded this drive all these years,” Jason told me. “Of course, we’re concerned. He’s a smart guy and he’s a sociopath who has never shown remorse.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo is not interested enough to intervene. The parole board will not say why it decided to release Ayala or whether it has anything to do with Covid-19. Perhaps Ayala is in poor health. But that begs the question: do we ever owe mercy to someone who so heartlessly robbed four children of their mothers and then laughed about it?

Jason, who as a six-year-old tried to save his mother and had a gun slammed into his tiny face, admits he is worried.

“I have an 11-year-old daughter,” he said. “We already have a big dog and an alarm system but now I’m getting a better one. I’m planning to get a permit for a rifle.”         

Keep Jason’s story in mind next time you hear about compassionate Covid-19 prison releases, won’t you? For survivor/victims such releases can mean a life sentence of fear.



  1. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 9:47 am

    Reader Joseph Wilson writes:

    I would not wish this on anyone. But sometimes you would like the people on the parole board to have experienced the awful acts they let people get out of jail for.

  2. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 9:48 am

    Reader Keith Jones writes:

    Sentencing is a horrific problem in America. Child rapists get 2 years in prison and rapists and murderers get parole. Something has to change.

  3. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 9:48 am

    Reader Randall Bachman writes:

    If we would reenact the appropriate death penalty for these damaged humans, these kinds of problems would not occur and the inherent cruelty of life sentences would be eliminated. The State has the Sword for a reason, not using it is a criminal act prompted by nut-job do gooders who don’t understand evil, and want to feel good about themselves by making the world a miserable place. 4MY

  4. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Reader Joseph Wilson writes:

    Secured in their gated and secure homes they do not experience the awful crimes most of Americans do so the liberals can only have compassion for the sick and depraved

  5. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Reader Barbara Evenson writes:

    Disgusting that this person is free again! How can somebody who committed such horrendous crimes and two murders, be set free at all! There’s something wrong with our justice system! Someone who accidentally (deserves a punishment) killed someone can be sentenced to life, no parole, but someone who purposely rapes and kills two women gets parole!

  6. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Reader bandwidth88 writes:

    Cuomo is a mass murderer, he just for sport killed 12,000 plus nursing home people who fell victim to the governor. How come he’s not dead yet? New York chicken shit liberals!

  7. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Reader Benebeth writes:

    Oh, Diane. This reminds me of Leslie Van Houten (Manson) who has tried to get out of prison for decades. “I have done everything you asked of me”, she whined to the parole board.
    The Lipstick Killer (Illinois) died a few years ago and repeatedly tried to get out. “When Illinois says life, it’s life”. He was the longest held prisoner in the corrections system and let’s not forget Jeff MacDonald who butchered his wife and two little girls. How long did we have to read about “new proof he didn’t do it!”.
    Diane, there is a special place in hell for those killers. If I understood them, I’d be them.

  8. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Reader Beth Rooney writes:

    So so sad!!!!!! Been following this case. Prayers to him and his family!!

  9. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Reader Bill Voinovich writes:

    Fauci keeps telling us to mask up, because the masks supposedly work, so why are they releasing these TURDS back into society??
    MASK UP, SHUT UP, and above all STAY THE HELL in PRISON.
    That’s what you DESERVE!!!!!!!!!

  10. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Reader Stephanie Kovac writes:

    Absolutely unspeakable that this monster was released. How much more can one family be victimized?

  11. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Reader Jonathan Swartz writes:

    They should attach a condition to his parole that he is not allowed to see or live in the same neighborhood as Jason. I feel sorry that Jason and his family have to go through this again.

  12. Donna R. Gore on August 24, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    I pray that Jason has the resilience to deal with the outcome. Even a “no contact order” is only as good as the paper upon it is written.

    I can so relate to this…I fought tirelessly to keep the perpetrator of my Dad’s murder in 1981 in prison a second time as well as change the system of parole in Connecticu,t as all of the agencies were – are operating in silos with only one inaccessible building to report to for all parole hearings, and no one stop shopping for crime victims to obtain their information!
    I was successful in keeping the perp (in his early 60’s) incarcerated again… But there remains the concern that in a couple of years there will be “just an administrative hearing” in which families have no voice! ‘So unfair. As for changing the system with many low or no cost suggestions I provided, which were seemingly endored by the Speaker of the House and others – never implemented! Politics as usual. DRG- Ladyjustice

  13. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Reader Kevin McKeown writes:

    Thanks for ruining my breakfast as I read your oped in the Saturday Albuquerque Journal. Sorta. But thanks for sharing this story. Hundreds of felons are being released here in New Mexico by our governor.
    It seems the entire country is tolerant of bad behavior, criminal activity, lying, cheating, dirtbag behavior, scandal, so I don’t know what to say. Why do you think Joe Biden is the Democratic choice for president?
    Keep in mind that Governor Cuomo has like a 70% approval rating in New York state so, like it or not, people want the jails open and the prisoners released in New York state.
    I’m chewing nails right now.
    BTW, every time I tell my liberal Progressive Marxist “friends” that I enjoy your columns, they trash me and call me racist, scumbag, and other weird names.

    Kevin McKeown

    • Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 1:10 pm

      Diane replies to Kevin:

      Whaaat? You’re telling me that the “wokest of the woke” there in New Mexico don’t like my columns??
      I’m devastated, Kevin….not.
      I find it so interesting to see what kind of people refuse to keep an open mind, listen to the opinions of others and carefully apply their own critical thinking to an issue. This lock-step thinking is, in my opinion, pretty immature.

  14. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    Reader Andy Kahan writes:

    There should be a national database of all convicted murderers released on parole in addition to all offenders on parole who are charged with murder.

    • Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 6:13 pm

      Diane replies to Andy:

      I love that idea, Andy. If we keep track of a teenager who had to join the sex registry FOR LIFE just for having sex with his teenage girlfriend, you’d think we could/should keep track of released killers!

    • Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 6:13 pm

      Andy replies to Diane:

      I have been keeping track of all people killed by defendants released on multiple felony bonds and PR Bonds since 2018
      So far my list consists of 60 people
      In addition there have been 23 people murdered by offenders on parole in Harris County the last several years

  15. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Reader Linda Kelly

    I could never imagine that this could be possible:

    Pending release of Sarasota rapist, killer concerns Hudson Bayou neighborhood–7HaQpeyB1sPcMwhmVfJW4cI1T6ZZHsGiADwF2Edz-zCtrg
    Pending release of Sarasota rapist, killer concerns Hudson Bayou neighborhood

  16. Diane Dimond on August 24, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    Reader Steve Liddick writes:

    Jason should be afraid. But he should not have announced that he will be armed. That should come as an unpleasant surprise to anyone who would do harm to his family.

  17. Diane Dimond on August 31, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Reader Anne-Marie Sakowitz@iamsakowitz writes:

    I get overcrowding, COVID, age, etc. but this person brutally RAPED and MURDERED mothers in front of their children.

    Maybe let people with low-level non-violent drug crimes go to keep space for this asshole? ‍♀️

  18. Diane Dimond on September 6, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Reader Karen Devereaux Scioscia writes:

    Cuomo needs to keep this animal locked up!

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