Last year, Macumber and his attorneys petitioned the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency, which in a rare move unanimously recommended his sentence be commuted, saying "an injustice has been done in Mr. Macumber's case" and that his wife had "motive, means and opportunity to falsely pin the murders on Mr. Macumber."
But when the Clemency Board sent their recommendations to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, the case came to a standstill. Brewer denied the recommendation for clemency in a one-sentence letter eight days after she announced she was running for reelection.
"I was angry. We were making all the plans for him to come home. We thought it was a slam dunk...And you get a one sentence declaration: 'William Macumber's clemency is denied.' No explanation, it was devastating," Ron Kempfert said.
"It was hard to deal with," Macumber agreed.
Governor Brewer later explained that one of her reasons for denying Macumber's release was public safety concerns. But not only does Macumber have an exemplary prison record, he is in failing health with heart problems, arthritis and emphysema. His family fears he may not live long enough to get out of prison.
Weeks later, Kempfert went with ABC News to one of Brewer's press conferences, where he was given the chance to confront the governor about why she denied his father's freedom.
"It's an unfortunate situation that governors have to make difficult decisions regardless of what recommendations are made to them...but he was found guilty by two different juries and I feel very comfortable with my decision," Brewer said of her decision.
Afterwards, Kempfert said he wasn't surprised by the governor's reaction to his question.
"To me she's a coward, she just ran away, the moment it got tough. The same statement she's given us for a year," he said.
Macumber's legal team and his son continue to explore other options for securing his release, but options limited, and given Macumber's age and health, time is limited as well.