'I learned to make better choices'

'I learned to make better choices'
Mark Allen Vanderhoof

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Mark Allen Vanderhoof, 50, of Roseburg, is in the Douglas County Jail, charged with the alleged murder of his girlfriend's two year old son, Dennis James Young.

This isn't the first time Vanderhoof has been behind bars.

He pleaded guilty to raping a 4-year-old girl in Douglas County, and that incident occurred on January 26, 1988. Vanderhoof was 27 at the time.

According to court documents the victim suffered bruises to her face and neck, as well as her wrists and hands. He had three prior convictions that they say "involved abusive behavior towards young children."

Vanderhoof pleaded guilty in May of 1988, in a deal that sent him to prison for Rape I, and dropped a second rape charge. The sentence was for 20 years, with a 10 year minimum.

Even though he was not scheduled to have a parole hearing until 1993, he wrote a letter to Judge Joan Seitz in December of 1991, asking her to consider modifying his sentence, and that he was a changed man.

Read Vanderhoof's letter here

Vanderhoof wrote that he had, "spent my time here on self improvement," and later said that, "I learned to make better choices."

He said in his statement that he wanted to start an auto repair business, and in a December 1991 letter from his then-wife, Karen Vanderhoof, she stated that she too thought he had made, "a lot of self improvement."

His letter was received by Judge Seitz, and she replied that the court was without power or authority to grant his request.