Justin Boulay served just half of his 24-year sentence for strangling Eastern Illinois University student Andrea Will.
Boulay will be released from the Danville Correctional Center Tuesday.
Vigils in support of the murder victim and her family will be held in 29 different locations.
Justin Boulay was given that 24-year prison term before 'truth in sentencing' rules took effect, which means he was eligible for a day off of his sentence for every day of good behavior in prison.
On Tuesday, he will be a free man, and he will head for Hawaii to live with his 'wife' of the last three years.
Justin Boulay plans to go from prison to paradise while his victim's friends remain in their own private hell.
"It just seems like he got away and, like I said, his picture seems like he's snickering, like, 'Ha ha, I got away. I only served 12 years. I'm 33. I get out and I get to have a wife. I get to live in Hawaii. I get the possibility of having kids. I can put this all behind me,'" said Laura Glombowski, one of Will's friends. "Her family can't - we can't."
Laura Glombowski and Michelle Feldy were freshmen at Eastern Illinois in 1998 when Will, their friend, was killed by her ex-boyfriend. Boulay strangled the Batavia native with a phone cord.
"He didn't serve the sentence he needed to serve," said Feldy, who was Will's college roommate. "He hasn't admitted guilt; he claims he was temporarily insane, but he had four-and-a-half minutes to choose to stop while he was strangling the life out of her, and he didn't."
"I don't think he regrets it. I don't think he cares," said Glombowski. "He won't admit it. He doesn't say he's sorry."
Andrea Will's family feels as though it has been dealt a triple blow: first, Andrea's murder, then the early release, and now, the fact that they get no say.
"I was told that I could have every petition on the planet and nothing would keep him, nothing could keep him from leaving that prison," said Will's mother.
Prosecutors in Hawaii tried unsuccessfully to block Boulay from moving to their state. He plans to live with his wife, who is reportedly an assistant professor of medicine at a local college. The two dated in high school.
The only comfort for Andrea Will's friends and family is the fact their decision to speak out has led to publicity and protests from Illinois to Hawaii.
"I think his original intent was to, 'Oh, nobody will know who I am,'" said Glombowski. "Now, people know. It's going to follow him."
Boulay is scheduled to be released from the state prison in Danville during the day Tuesday.
Tuesday night, there will be vigils to remember Andrea Will in her hometown of Batavia and nearly two dozen other cities.
That includes in Oahu, where the local prosecutor says he will keep close tabs on Boulay during his three years on probation.