Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday announced pardons or sentence reductions for some 150 convicted criminals, continuing a tradition of timing his decisions around major Christian holidays including Christmas.
In all, he pardoned 132 people and commuted the sentences of 19. That included pardons for about 60 people convicted of making, selling or possessing drugs, including marijuana.
Criminals who request pardons must have completed their sentences and shown that they are reformed.
Those winning commutations included Candace Lee Fox.
Fox, 57, took part in a 1984 robbery and killing. She agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and testify against accomplices. In return, a Los Angeles County prosecutor said in court that she could be paroled in 7 1/2 years with good behavior. But the law required that she serve at least 10 years.
Fox won a new trial but was convicted in 1992 of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. A federal appeals panel upheld her sentence last year but two of the judges said the state should consider clemency.
“If the state had kept its word, Fox would have been released from prison over two decades ago,” wrote Judge Stephen Reinhardt.
Brown commuted her sentence to 15 years to life, giving her a chance for parole. He noted that Fox has been a model prisoner, and one of her accomplices was paroled years ago.
Among those pardoned was Kimberly Joyce Carter, of San Bernardino, who was labeled a hero by CNN for her work with the homeless.
Carter turned her life around after years of addiction and homelessness that included working as a prostitute and serving prison time for petty crimes.
She entered a rehabilitation program and after her release in the mid-1990s founded the Time for Change Foundation, which assists homeless women with housing, counseling and job training and tries to reunite them with their children.
Pardons don’t erase the convictions, but state and federal law enforcement agencies are informed and the pardons are public records.
California’s longest-serving governor has now issued 1,463 pardons, including 404 during his first two terms as governor from 1975 to 1983.
Brown’s father, Edmund G. “Pat” Brown had 467 pardons and 55 commutations, but there have been long stretches of very few. From 1991 through 2010, former Govs. Pete Wilson and Gray Davis issued no pardons, while Arnold Schwarzenegger handed out just 15.
What follows is a list of Southern California criminals who received reduced sentences – and the good deeds they performed to merit the reduction.
The Associated Press and staff writers Louis Cassiano, Brian Day, Imran Ghori, Alicia Robinson and Beatriz E. Valenzuela contributed to this report.
Los Angeles County commutations
Bradley Joe Arrowood: Convicted of first-degree murder. In 1993, after discovering his wife was having an affair, Arrowood and two friends lured his wife’s lover to a home where they beat him and covered his mouth and head with duck tape. The man died of asphyxiation.
Citing his dedication to self-improvement, Arrowood had his sentence reduced from life with the possibility of parole to 25 years to life.
While serving nearly 24 years in prison, he earned his GED, a paralegal certificate, two associates degrees and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication from Cal State Los Angeles.
“Since committing this very serious crime, Mr. Arrowood turned away from violence and drugs and instead dedicated himself to rehabilitation and education,” his commutation states.
Arrowood will live in a housing facility near the university when he is released.
Christopher Antoine Brown: Convicted in July 1995 of taking part in a gang shooting when he was 17, killing one person and wounding another. He was convicted of first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to 36 years to life in prison, where he’s earned his GED, is working on an associate’s degree and taken part in self-help and youth mentorship programs. His sentence was commuted to 22 years to life in prison, which will allow him to make his case for parole.
Susan Bustamante: Convicted in May 1980 of having her brother stab and kill her husband, whose body she helped dispose of and collected $100,000 in insurance benefits. She was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no parole. Bustamante said she faced years of abuse from her husband and a psychologist found in 2013 that she met the criteria for intimate partner battery. She’s completed self-help programs and chaired a group called Convicted Woman Against Abuse. Her sentence was commuted to 25 years to life, allowing her to apply for parole.
Robert Crain: Convicted of attempted murder in Los Angeles County in July 2005 when he was the driver of a stolen car whose two passengers fired multiple shots in an area known for gang activity. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempted murder and released in May 2016. The state parole board commended him in earning his GED and taking part in self-help program and vocational training. His sentence was commuted to 11 years.
Hugo Gonzalez: Convicted of the attempted murder and firearms enhancements for a 2000 Los Angeles County shooting that left three men wounded when he was 16 years old. He was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison . His sentenced was commuted to 17 years to life. He has served 17 years.
Prison has changed Gonzalez’s life. He has since turned away from gangs, avoided alcohol and drugs and has given back to his community in a positive way, read his commutation notice.
Charles David Henry: Convicted of the 2004 Los Angeles County attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend after threatening her and her daughter with a gun following a break-up. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison. His sentence was commuted to 13 years, which he has already served. Since committing the crime, he has dedicated himself to rehabilitating others, according to the commutation notice.
Donna Jelenic, 73, took part in self-help programs for domestic violence victims, volunteered as a tutor and helped create a program to address the needs of older incarcerated women while serving a sentence for first-degree murder and solicitation to commit murder.
She was sentenced in Los Angeles County to life without parole in 1984, a year after she helped hire someone to kill her husband, whom she said had abused her and threatened their daughters. Jelenic had served 34 years when her sentence was commuted.
A note on the commutation of Todd Morrison’s sentence said he has quit using drugs, helps train service dogs, and has earned a business certificate and completed vocation programs while in prison.
Morrison also expressed remorse for his crime of breaking into a neighbor’s apartment while high on drugs, then stabbing to death a woman who knocked on the door. He was sentenced in 1991 in Los Angeles County to life without parole with a deadly weapon enhancement.
After receiving a sentence of 50 years to life in Los Angeles County in 2001, Allicia Phillips strove to rehabilitate herself, taking part in self-help programs, earning an associate’s degree in religious education and mentoring young girls to turn away from prostitution and other bad choices,
Phillips, 65, spent nearly 18 years in prison for shooting and strangling her stepfather after a fight and directing her son to bury the body in 2000.
Debra Strange: Convicted of the 2006 kidnapping of Carlito and Carmen Aguilar after Strange saw the couple win a large jackpot at a Los Angeles County casino. She followed the couple home, forcing her way into their home while holding a gun. The couple’s son pinned her down until police arrived. She was sentenced to 17 years to life — seven years to life for the kidnapping, plus 10 years for the gun enhancement. She has served 11 years. In that time she hasn’t had disciplinary issues and has earned an associates of arts degree. He sentence was commuted to 11 years.
Tobias Tubbs: Convicted of two counts of first degree murder in the June 15, 1991, shooting of Desiree Mayberry and Larry Thomas in Los Angeles County. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole. In his 26 years in prison, Tubbs has become a peer educator, a trainer for rescue dogs with the Paws for Life program and facilitates self-help groups. His sentence was commuted to 25 years to life.
Anthony West: Convicted of the Sept. 14, 1992, slaying of Louie Molduf, the father of West’s girlfriend. Molduf learned West had forged some of his checks and West, fearful the man would go to police, pushed Molduf into the trunk of a car. Molduf died of asphyxiation. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He’s received two vocational certificates in the 25 years he’s been in prison and has been a model inmate, receiving two commendations from correction officers. His sentenced was commuted to 25 years to life.
Orange County commutation
Jesus Arturo Aguirre Jr.: Convicted of attempted murder, intentional discharge of a firearm with gang enhancements.
Aguirre was first sentenced to 35 years to life in prison for attempted murder, assault and gang charges related to the 2010 gang shooting of Ramon Magana in Buena Park.
Aguirre was 16 at the time of the shooting.
In 2014, an appellate court remanded his case for resentencing after determining he was given ineffective legal assistance and Aguirre was resentenced to 17 years in prison. During his eight years in prison, Aguirre dropped out of his gang, earned his GED and is taking college classes.
Outside of prison, his family and supporters have advocated for his release, saying his life sentence was unfair.
Los Angeles County
Debra Cochran, possession of a controlled substance for sale
Rick James Cole, inflicting injury on a child
Karen Lee Constantine, grand theft of property, making false entries in record and theft of public records or documents
Carlos Cornelius, robbery of the same store on three occasions
Christina Beate Lockerby, convicted of robbing four liquor stores and a donut shop at gun point
Guillermo Alberto Matus Salinas. Convicted in August 2004 of possession or purchase of a controlled substance
Christina Marie Maunu (King). Convicted of conspiracy to sell methamphetamine in October 1999
Emmanuel Reyes Medel. Convicted of arson in January 1990. Los Angeles County.
Jeffery Glen Miles. Convicted of bringing alcohol into a prison in July 2001
Michael Minotti. Convicted of mayhem in July 1989
Amber Moore (Morgan). Convicted of robbery in December 2004
Banjong Muninnopmas. Convicted of prostitution in May 2011
David William Pate. Convicted of possession of marijuana for sale
Cynthia Pena. Convicted of robbery in October 2000
John Lewis Davis-Love, transporting, manufacturing or selling dangerous drugs
Raul Felipe Dehogues, possession of controlled substances and driving under the influence
Bob William DeMonte, possession of controlled substance for sale while armed
James Wesley Dover, receiving stolen property
Peter Melvin Engelman, manufacturing and possession of a controlled substance, possession for sale and possession of paraphernalia
Kenneth Frasier, grand theft
Katherine Gail Fultz-Lewis, unlawfully causing a fire and possession of a controlled substance
Benjamin Harrison Galusha, possession of marijuana for sale and transporting or selling a controlled substance
Daniel Gipson, burglary
Lawrence Richard Gossman, transporting or selling a controlled substance
Dale Spencer Griner, possession of a controlled substance for sale
Raymond Johnny Guerrero, carrying a concealed weapon with a prior felony conviction
David L. Haase II, driving under the influence with prior convictions
Brian David Hartshorn, manufacturing a controlled substance and under influence of controlled substance
Simon Iniguez Jr., robbery
Georgetta Jemison-McAlpine, attempted voluntary manslaughter
Clifford Vince Keith, robbery
Steven Ronald Lascano, grand theft auto and ID theft
Tyaneka Lashawn Lawrence, possession of controlled substance for sale
William L. Reinhart, possession of a controlled substance
Sarah Jane Romero, burglary
Winston Jehu Sappington, possession of a controlled substance
Magnus Simkins, possession of a machine gun
Gregory Lee Sims, kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon
Ayla I. Soto, possession of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance, Los Angeles, Santa Clara and San Bernardino counties
Laurence Dean Stiles, selling or furnishing marijuana
Ishmael Piankhi Tarikh, grand theft of property
Mervyn Henry Washington, robbery
Thomas Lee Brookshire, passing a check with insufficient funds
Eric Canton (Cardenas), robbery
Kimberly Joyce Carter, possession of a controlled substance, Los Angeles County; grand theft from a person, San Francisco County
Dirk Elslie Christiansen, possession of a controlled substance for sale
Edwin Maurice Hamilton, transporting or selling a controlled substance, possessing, manufacturing or selling a dangerous weapon
Ronald Crump, false imprisonment, preventing a victim from reporting a crime, battery of a cohabitant, exhibiting a deadly weapon other than a firearm, vandalism or damage to property and damage to power lines
Donald Christian Peterson. Convicted of attempted robbery in January 1979
Richard Darringon Pfeiffer. Convicted of robbery in September 1989
Elliot Nilsson Garcia, possession of a controlled substance
Larry Herbert Grossman, arson
Lario Marines Lagunas, assault while possessing a firearm and shooting at an aircraft
Andre LeBlond, possession, manufature or sale of a dangerous weapon and robbery
Edwyn Franco Ramos, transporting or selling controlled substances and possession or purchase of a controlled substance for sale
Francois Adel Tiab, manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of ephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine an planting or cultivating marijuana
Tyrone Antonio Benjamin, driving under the influence
Matthew Francis Briskie, possession of marijuana for sales and possession of a controlled substance
Silverio Jacob Chairez, threatening to commit a crime with intent to terrorize
David Loop, convicted in July 1990 of possession of a controlled substance for sale and April 1998 of manufacturing a controlled substance for sale
John Stephen Dragoin, possession of a controlled substance
Larry Lee Dwyer, burglary
Charles Z. Fuller, armed robbery
Mario Alejandro Gutierrez, assault while in possession of a firearm
Elizabeth Rose Ramos, fraud to obtain aid resulting in excessive property loss
San Bernardino County
Edward D. Corral, attempted robbery
Sean William McGinnis. Convicted of giving away marijuana in January 1995
Craig Ramazan. Convicted of possession of an assault weapon and a controlled substance in October 2002
Terry L. Higgins, transporting marijuana
Christopher Thomas Koller, domestic violence
Stephan Scott Rose, criminal conspiracy and transporting a controlled substance
Anthony Raymond Saldana. Drive under the influence
Zachary Dominic Zeno, transporting a controlled substance, San Bernardino
Donald lamar Anderson, transporting or selling a controlled substance
Source: Oc Register