UPDATE, NOV. 29, 5:50 P.M.: The Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation meeting at California State Prison in Corcoran denied parole today for Luis Carlos Escobar, 51, who murdered a motorist in a crash while fleeing from agents busting him in an undercover coke sting in Anaheim in 1986. The panel meeting at California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo ruled the same for Alberto Aguilera, 51, who shot a man to death outside a Santa Ana bar in 1995. He's next eligible for a parole hearing in 2016, while Escobar has to wait until 2021.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 29, 9:22 A.M.: Two 51-year-old men convicted of very different murders more than a decade ago seek their paroles today. Luis Carlos Escobar was already on parole for distributing cocaine in 1986 when he killed a motorist in a 100 mph crash while fleeing from agents busting him in an undercover coke sting in Anaheim. Alberto Aguilera had been arguing over a woman with another man at a Santa Ana bar in 1995 when he shot the man in the face, killing him.
The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) is opposing the paroles of both men.
Deputy District Attorney Matt Lockhart is scheduled to appear this afternoon at Escorbar's parole hearing at the prison holding him, California State Prison in Corcoran. Lockhart will maintain that Escobar is a threat to society based on the nature of the crime, his prior criminal record and 28 prison rules violations while incarcerated.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Stephan Sauer is scheduled to appear at Aguilera's hearing this morning at California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo. Sauer will argue that Aguilera is a continued threat to society based on the nature of the crime and his failure to accept responsibility for his actions.
Escobar was on probation for another crime when he was busted in 1981 for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms of cocaine. On Jan. 9, 1986--which was only six months after he had been released from federal prison for the previous coke case--Escobar and a partner sold two kilograms of cocaine for $80,000 to undercover Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement special agents in an Anaheim parking lot.
As the agents were arresting Escobar's partner, Escobar jumped into a car and sped off, hitting speeds over 100 mph, running red lights and wedging his way between other cars. He ultimately crashed into the car of 23-year-old grad student David Vaca, who was waiting at a red light. Vaca died instantly.
Escobar grabbed $35,000 in cash from his own car before walking away from the crash scene, leaving behind a loaded firearm. He was found guilty by a jury on Jan. 23, 1987, of one felony count of second degree murder, two felony counts of the sale of a controlled substance, one felony count of conspiracy to sell a controlled substance, and a sentencing enhancement for being armed with a firearm. He was sentenced on March 16, 1987, to 15 years to life in state prison.
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The OCDA claims that the only remorse Escobar has shown for the murder while incarcerated has involved the consequences he has suffered, with no regard for Vaca and Vaca's family. He continues to minimize his role in the cocaine sale that led to him fleeing the scene and to display "criminality and a lack of rehabilitation" by breaking prison rules involving controlled substances brought into the facility, tobacco possession, cell phone possession and--most recently in January 2011--threats to a staff member, according to OCDA.
Around 1:40 a.m. on July 1, 1995, Aguilera and Jose Perez began arguing over the woman inside the bar when Aguilera left and waited outside for Perez to leave. When Perez walked outside, Aguilera shot Perez in the face, lowered his gun to his side and nonchalantly turned and walked toward a parked car. A jury found him guilty of one felony count of second degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm. That conviction was later overturned on appeal and Aguilera was subsequently convicted by a second jury on Dec. 17, 2011. He was sentenced on June 14, 2002, to 19 years to life in state prison.
The OCDA claims Aguilera has repeatedly tried to avoid taking blame for his actions, first by denying any involvement in the shooting and later by claiming he acted in self-defense. "The inmate's various versions of events have become progressively more self-serving, while at the same time becoming less consistent with the actual facts," reads an opposition letter prepared by prosecutors.
Based on the crime, his lack of remorse, his failure to accept responsibility and the fact that he's only served 16 years of his sentence, Aguilera continues to pose a threat to public safety and should not be released from prison, the OCDA maintains.