[UPDATED with Continuance:] Paul Crowder, Who Murdered Anaheim Basketball Star on Prom Night, Faces Parole Opposition
UPDATE, MAY 25, 1:53 P.M.: The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) released the following statement today:
"Due to an objection to a psychological report by Paul Crowder's defense lawyer, the Board has postponed the parole hearing by a couple of months to an undetermined time."
The OCDA and Anaheim Police Department are opposing the 39-year-old parole application to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations' Board of Parole Hearings.
Prosecutors claim Crowder has failed to show remorse or take responsibility for the June 1, 1991, murder of Berlyn Cosman, a 17-year-old Crescenta Valley High School basketball star who was sleeping in a hotel room after her prom when she was shot to death.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 25, 7:30 A.M.: It's approaching the 20th anniversary of the death of 17-year-old Berlyn Cosman, who was sleeping in her room at the Sterling Crown Suites Hotel in Anaheim after her prom when a drunk and laughing 19-year-old walked in, waved a gun around, shot the Crescenta Valley High School basketball star and fled.
Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos is at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy this morning arguing against the parole of now 39-year-old Paul Crowder.
Crowder 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 California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations' Board of Parole Hearings is meeting this morning to consider granting Crowder's parole.
The board voted to cut him loose in 2010, but then-Governor Arnold Schwarnegger--obviously informed Crowder is not related to Fabian Nunez--invoked his authority to reverse the board's decision, citing Crowder's lack of insight and responsibility of the murder.
Chrisopolous will again maintain to the parole board that Crowder has not taken responsibility for his crime and continues to show a lack of remorse. For instance, Crowder reportedly claims he tripped while walking into Cosman's room--a room he had already been ordered to stay out of--and that the gun accidentally went off. The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) states in its latest parole opposition letter that "the inmate's reluctance to acknowledge the true circumstances of the crime show a tremendous lack of insight which is required for him to have any chance of success at parole."
In March, the Anaheim Police Department also sent the parole board a letter opposing Crowder's release.
A group of Crescenta Valley students rented three Sterling Crown suites for a party the night of June 1, 1991. Cosman was spending the night there, while Crowder, who was not a student at the school, tagged along with Kenneth Schaffer, Berlyn's boyfriend.
Crowder brought along beer and a firearm that he frequently whipped out and waved at people, threatening anyone who tried to stop him, including one partygoer whose buttocks the gunman targeted.
Later in the evening, Crowder could not find a ride home (gee, wonder why?), so he asked Schaffer and Cosman, an excellent student with an athletic scholarship for college basketball, if he could sleep in their room.
According to the OCDA, Cosman refused and Crowder argued with her before leaving the room cursing. Evidence of this was presented during his jury trial, but Crowder still denies ever arguing with Cosman that night or of having made threatening statements about wanting to kill her. Early that same morning is when Crowder returned and fired the fatal shot. As he fled, he hid the gun in the bushes outside the hotel. Then he went home a took a nap.
After an Anaheim Police Department investigation, Crowder was arrested that same day. A jury convicted him of second-degree murder and the personal use of a firearm on Sept. 26, 1991. He was sentenced on Nov. 1.
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