SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Parole officials on Friday recommended releasing a man convicted of gunning down a San Diego police officer 37 years ago as a teenage gang member.
Jesus Salvadore Cecena, now 54, was found suitable for release from Valley State Prison by a parole panel at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The finding is subject to a four-month review and after that, Gov. Jerry Brown has another 30 days to reverse the board’s decision.
Cecena was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for shooting Officer Archie Buggs, 30, four times during a vehicle stop in the city’s Skyline neighborhood back in November 1978. Cecena was 17 years old at the time.
His term was later modified, giving him a chance at parole under a state law that allows youth offenders serving life without the possibility of parole to petition for release once they have served at least 15 years.
Cecena was recommended for parole in 2014, but Brown reversed that decision. Friday was his 15th parole hearing.
The San Diego police officers’ union has previously opposed Cecena’s release. A telephone and email message left for Brian Marvel, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, wasn’t immediately returned Friday afternoon.
San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said she will urge Brown to veto the board’s decision.
“Officer Archie Buggs was devoted to helping people and saving lives. Jesus Cecena was a gang member who shot and killed Officer Buggs because he was a police officer,” Zimmerman said in a statement. “He is a cold blooded killer who poses a clear danger to the citizens of California.”
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