East was convicted in the stabbing death of elderly Abilene resident Mary Sears back in 1981. Sears was a known local artist from a prominent family. In a jailhouse interview with KRBC and KTAB in November of last year, East maintained his innocence.
After spending nearly 30 years behind bars for the capital murder conviction, East was granted parole last year. In November of 2011, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles approved an appeal from Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge to ban East from returning to the Abilene area. As a result, he is not allowed in the following counties: Jones, Runnels, Coleman, and Callahan. East was released from the Livingston Polunksy Unit in December of 2011. The state parole board chose Glenn Heights to be East's new residence.