UPDATE: Gov. Haslam grants parole to Hamilton Co. man hired as a hitman
A Hamilton County man who was hired as a hitman was granted supervised parole by Governor Haslam.
Jeremy Ingram was paid to kill a man's wife in 1994.
Governor Bill Haslam granted Ingram clemency Friday as a part of his final executive order in office. He has granted a total of nine commutations, 35 pardons, and one exoneration.
In a news release from the governor's office, Governor Haslam said Ingram has changed during his time behind bars.
"Jeremy Michael Ingram’s life sentence for his 1995 murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and attempted murder convictions in Hamilton County were commuted to parole supervision beginning January 17, 2020, to last for the remainder of his sentence. Ingram, who was 18-years-old when the crimes were committed, will be subject to additional supervision conditions. He has undergone a transformation during 25 years of incarceration, earning four higher education degrees and actively participating in rehabilitation and faith-based programs and earning the respect of numerous volunteers and prison officials."
Channel 3 spoke with the victim, Gina Sanjines on Friday.
“It is devastating. It is frightening. I'm devastated not just for me and my family but for all the citizens of Hamilton County,” she said. “The governor just gut punched the law.”
With just a day's notice, Gina learned she could soon run into the man who tried to kill her 25 years ago. He will be released from prison and free to return home to Chattanooga.
“The first time I met him he had a gun in his hand aimed at my head,” said Gina.
In March 1994, Ingram entered Gina's home and shot her in the head three times.
“The first two bullets knocked me to the ground and he walked over to me and stood over me and shot me the third time execution style. He has never admitted that. Although, he has admitted to murder and attempted murder,” said Gina.
Her boyfriend, Virgil Schrag, was also shot in the head.
“He waited in my home for two hours for me to return home to carry out this heinous act,” said Gina.
A court determined Gina's ex-husband Dr. Jorge Ariel Sanjines, who is serving a life sentence, hired Ingram to kill his wife. The two were divorcing at the time. Ingram was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Gina now suffered permanent injuries, including blindness in her left eye, hearing loss and ringing in her left ear, chronic headaches, paresthesia and other injuries. Gina says her three children, who are now adults, are traumatized.
“They've been so fearful for my life for so long and this brings it all back and makes them more fearful.”
District Attorney Neal Pinkston expressed their concern after learning Ingram would go free, but he says there is no way to reverse or appeal Governor Haslam's decision. Still, Gina is hoping at the very least, restrictions will be placed on Ingram to keep her safe.
“He didn't know me. He took money to kill me. Who's to say he didn't meet someone in prison or doesn't still know someone out there who would be able to pay him more to kill their loved one or their rival,” said Gina. “I hope [Governor Haslam] understands the repercussions of putting an admitted murderer on the streets.”
Channel 3 reached out to the state parole board and found out Ingram was up for parole in December. He was denied because of the seriousness of his offense.
Ingram will be reduced to parole supervision on January 17, 2020. He will have to meet with a parole officer at least once a month and could face additional restrictions that have not yet been decided by the department of corrections.
"I feel like I am in the twilight zone where left is right, right is wrong, not wrong is right. I don't know how that happens I am more confused and more devastated," she said.
Although Friday is Governor Haslam's last day in office, Gina said she reached out to him for an explanation. So far, his office has not responded.
Below is a letter she wrote in regard to Ingram's commutation: