Slain officer's widow: 'It's always fresh on my mind'

Posted at 7:57 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 19:58:24-05

CINCINNATI -- Cheryl Cole lost her husband, Officer David Cole, more than 40 years ago, but the memory of that day has never left her.

"It's always fresh on my mind," she said Wednesday, hugging a picture of her husband to her chest. "I remember every single thing -- (the other officers) coming to the door, seeing the lights outside."

Officer Cole was killed in an ambush by Roland Reaves and Ricardo Woods, both of whom were later that year sentenced to death for his murder. That ruling was reduced to life in prison when the death penalty was found unconstitutional -- and because there was no option for life without parole in 1974, Cheryl Cole fights every five years to keep her husband’s killer behind bars. 

She lost that battle in 1994, when Ricardo Woods was released on parole. Reaves is once again eligible for parole in March 2017.

Cole stood beside Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters and Assistant Cincinnati Police Chief David Bailey Wednesday as they joined her plea for others to express their opposition to Reaves’ release.

"We have to flood the parole board with input from this community that we are not going to stand for a cop-killer getting out of prison," said Deters, who claimed that his office had received more than 1,000 emails objecting to Reaves' release. 

He said Woods' release in 1994 was a "mistake," and he urged residents to request that Reaves serve 10 years instead of the usual five before he is eligible for parole again. 

Assistant Chief Bailey framed opposition to Reaves’ release as an issue of police solidarity and of honoring Cole’s legacy.

"When you kill a police officer in this county, this police department will never forget," he said. "We will not forget the efforts of David, and we will not forget you, Cheryl."