Man convicted in 1986 murder denied parole

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A man convicted of the 1986 murder of a Lexington restaurant manager learned his fate after a parole board hearing this morning.

Eric Hayden has served 30 years of a life sentence that was handed to him after police accused Hayden and his roommate, Clarence Jones, of murdering Clay Nelson.

Clay Nelson

Clay Nelson

Clarence Jones

Clarence Jones

On Wednesday, a parole board in Frankfort denied 59- year-old Hayden of parole.  He won’t be eligible for another five years.

Hayden and Jones are both serving life sentences for the crime.  Hayden says they planned to rob Nelson at the Columbia Steakhouse off of Alexandria Drive.  He said he only planned to drive the get away car after the robbery, but did not murder Nelson, who had been found stabbed more than 50 times.

Police say Hayden and Jones, 59, also set fire to the restaurant. Hayden says it was greed that made him agree to being involved in the robbery.

The parole board says Hayden’s account of what happened that night differs from what he said during the trial.

Hayden is serving his life sentence at Northpoint Training Center, a medium security prison in Danville, Kentucky. His next parole hearing will happen in the year 2021.

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