PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — ***WARNING: GRAPHIC MATERIAL BELOW***
A Maryland mother wants to know "Where is the justice?"
Fourteen-year-old named Nia Owens was murdered on her way to Northwestern High School in 1996. Her killer was arrested and convicted nearly 14 years after the crime.
Angela Wood, Nia's mother, stood in protest outside of the Prince George's County Courthouse on Monday. She's outraged and heartbroken her daughter's murderer will be released form prison early. He's set to be released on Tuesday.
"No one should be allowed to prey on a child on their way to school and murder them -- a grown person and get out in eight years. For the rest of my life, I will be upset with that decision," Wood said.
Wood said she lives with what happened every day.
"Matthew Bethea strangled my child by putting his..." Wood stopped to take a breath before continuing with this sentence, "(male genitalia) in her mouth and strangling her."
Wood also said a second DNA sample was found in her vagina.
Matthew Bethea, 42 years old, was convicted of the crime.
"She was only at Northwestern High School for three weeks before she was murdered. And I was told that Matthew Bethea, her murdered, worked at the PG Plaza in a shoe store, which would not be at all strange for her to go into the mall because that’s where we got our hair done. And I think that’s where he met her, was in the mall," Wood said.
Detectives found Nia's body in a wooded area by the Hyattsville, Md. high school. The crime terrorized the community for more than a decade.
In 2010, reports said Prince George's County Police used DNA evidence to make an arrest in the cold case.
"Only doing less than nine years, he's coming out of prison, where he should've been doing the 30 years that was on the table for him to do. And then after someone decided that he needed to plead the Alford Plea, which I don’t know why really that was made," Wood said.
"A 14-year-old child was killed and her killer is only doing about 8.5 years. There’s an injustice in that. There’s an inherit injustice in that and I will work with our legislature to try and correct that injustice," Prince George's County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy said.
Braveboy addressed questions from reporters after Wood spoke.
The county's top prosecutor told WUSA 9 state laws allowed for Bethea's early release despite the severity of his crimes.
"He's being released as a result of credits that he earned through the state’s credit Diminution Credit process and that’s not something that our office has a role in or could deny him," Braveboy said.
"I don’t think he should even be allowed to be with his children," Wood said.
She's also concerned Bethea will not be registered as a sex offender.
"He was labeled a fourth-degree sex offender in my daughter's place -- a case, which allowed him to come out like he is not having that attachment as a sexual predator. He's allowed to enjoy all the other things that other law abiding citizens can enjoy," Wood said.
She is pleading for the law to change.
"What happened in the system that this was so terribly wrong? And I can’t get my thinking around that and I probably will never understand why this man was allowed to get out in less than nine years," Wood said.
Braveboy said she will work with legislators to try and correct this injustice. She also said they’ll continue to search for a match on that second DNA sample found on Nia.
Wood said her daughter would have been 37 years old today.