A 54-year-old man–who fatally stabbed a fellow Marine 33 years ago in San Clemente, was found suitable for parole in February 2010 and had that parole board decision reversed by then-Gov. Schwarzenegger–has once again had a parole board recommend his freedom.
That puts the case of Ray Garcia Garcia (yes-yes that's-that's, his name-name) back before current Gov. Brown.
While stationed at Camp Pendleton, Garcia was in a San Clemente liquor store buying beers for underage Marines on Aug. 2, 1980, when he got into an argument with 22-year-old Eugene Brunelle over $10 Garcia was owed. He went ahead and gave the beer to the younger Marines then went back into the store and confronted Brunelle.
When Brunelle tried to put his arm around Garcia, Garcia tried to stab Brunelle but failed. The knifeman then lunged at Brunelle and fatally stabbed him in the chest. Garcia was later convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in state prison.
Garcia has blamed alcohol and a feeling of being bullied for the stabbing, and Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson concedes the inmate is remorseful and had participated in substance abuse programs while imprisoned at Corcoran.
After initially racking up prison rule violations–including fighting, twice possessing illegal knives and being involved in two stabbings–Garcia “basically turned it around after 2000,” the prosecutor reportedly told City News Service.
But Mendelson argued Wednesday against paroling Garcia, saying he lacked insight into the crime. “He couldn't explain what caused him to do it,” the prosecutor reportedly said. “That's the big thing. He couldn't explain why he did the murder.”
The parole board obviously does not agree that's reason enough to keep Garcia locked up, so we'll now have to wait and see if Brown agrees.