BROCKTON, MASS. (WHDH) - A man convicted in the 1983 killing of an 11-year-old girl was again fighting for his release Thursday after nearly four decades behind bars.

Val Mayfield, now 57, went before the Massachusetts Parole Board for a second time, apologizing for his crime as part of a 3.5 hour hearing in Natick.

“All I can say is I’m very, very sorry,” he said. 

Mayfield was convicted on a first degree murder charge in 1984 after he strangled and beat his girlfriend’s sister, Maryann Hanley, to death. Mayfield said he thought Hanley told people he had stolen sneakers. 

Hanley’s body was found in Dorchester’s Ronan Park. 

Mayfield was later sentenced to life in prison without parole. 

Mayfield discussed Hanley’s death on Thursday.

“I wish there was a way that I could go back with the mindset that I actually have today and stop this senseless and horrible crime I committed,” he said. 

Massachusetts laws have changed since Mayfield’s conviction and sentencing. Laws no longer allow juveniles to be sentenced without parole, opening the door for Mayfield to be released. 

Mayfield, then 17, was dating Hanley’s sister, Barbara Rose, at the time. The couple was also expecting a baby. Rose stood by Mayfield at his murder trial. Now, she says she opposes Mayfield’s release.

“He doesn’t deserve to come out,” Rose said outside the hearing room. “He deserves to stay there. Her life is gone, so his life should be gone too.”

The couple’s now grown daughter also spoke against Mayfield’s release on Thursday. 

Mayfield told the parole board he had a troubled upbringing with drug addiction, abuse and crime in his family. He said he didn’t know how to control his emotions. He said he has changed with programs and help behind bars. 

Hanley’s family, though, isn’t buying Mayfield’s characterizations. 

“You’re taking full responsibility?” Janet Kulak, another sister of Hanley, said. “Be a man. Do your time. That’s what real men do.”

Mayfield admitted to killing and raping Hanley during his last appearance before the parole board. 

Mayfield’s push for parole was previously denied. No decision had been announced as of Thursday afternoon on Mayfield’s latest parole effort.

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