As his predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger did last year, Gov. Jerry Brown has reversed a state parole board decision to release from prison Paul Crowder, who was convicted in 1991 of murdering a brilliant student-athlete from Anaheim's Crescenta Valley High School on her prom night.
But Brown still must be called on to make that decision on Crowder again.
This story only make sense in chronological order. On June 1, 1991, Berlyn Cosman was sleeping in her room at the Sterling Crown Suites Hotel in Anaheim after her prom when drunk, laughing and then-19-year-old Crowder walked in, waved a gun around, shot the Crescenta Valley High School basketball star and fled. He was sentenced in November 1991 to 15 years to life in state prison for the second-degree murder of Cosman and four additional years for personal use of a firearm.
The state parole board voted in 2010 to let Crowder loose, but Schwarzenegger invoked his authority to reverse the board's decision, citing Crowder's lack of insight into and responsibility for the murder. That set up another parole hearing at Deuel Vocational Institution, the Tracy prison holding Crowder. But the hearing was continued in May after Crowder's attorney objected to a psychological report on his client.
Over the objections of Cosman's sister, the Anaheim Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney's office, the parole board voted for Crowder's parole while meeting in Tracy last month. Prosecutors vowed to take their fight to Brown.
What Brown actually reversed today was the parole board's initial 2010 parole approval for Crowder. In a four-page letter dated Nov, 4, Brown writes that the inmate "does not genuinely understand or accept responsibility for his actions . . . (and) currently poses a danger to society if released."
The governor still has last month's parole board to contend with, but among those confident he will reach the same conclusion to keep Crowder locked up is former prosecutor and candidate for county supervisor Todd Spitzer, who is representing the dead girl's sister Morgan Cosman under Marsy's Law, reports the Orange County Register.
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- Paul Crowder, Murderer of Anaheim Basketball Star on Her Prom Night, Wins Parole Bid (Again)
- Paul Crowder, Who Murdered Anaheim Basketball Star on Prom Night, Faces Parole Opposition
In other news on the parole front, the state board meeting at Avenal State Prison in Avenal continued for three years its hearing on Francisco Calderon Mora, 39, who is serving an 18 years to life sentence for murdering a rival gang member in 1992 retaliation for defacing the graffiti of Mora's gang in Santa Ana. Mora's partner Cesar Javier Olguin was also convicted of second degree murder for the killing of John Ramirez. Mora sought the continuance because he reasoned his parole would be denied, according to an OCDA statement.
Meanwhile, the board meeting also meeting at Avenal delayed for six months the parole hearing for Gary James Eccher, 56, who in 1985 brutally beat, strangled, and drowned his live-in girlfriend in Anaheim. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison after a court in 1986 reduced his conviction to second-degree murder. The delay was granted to allow for the outcome of a Fourth District Court of Appeal decision regarding a letter District Attorney Tony Rackauckas wrote to Brown opposing Eccher's parole.