For the second time in less than 18 months, Gov. Jerry Brown has rejected parole for a convicted killer and former shot-caller for the Mexican Mafia who developed an unusually close relationship with law enforcement.
On Thursday, Brown reversed a February decision by a state parole board to free Rene “Boxer” Enriquez, who is serving life in prison for two murders committed in 1989.
In a three-page letter outlining his decision, Brown acknowledged that Enriquez, 53, “has made efforts to improve himself,” including his participation in some self-help programs after Brown last rejected his parole in February 2015.
“I commend Mr. Enriquez for taking these positive steps, but they are outweighed by the negative factors that demonstrate he remains unsuitable for parole,” Brown wrote.
Brown cited Enriquez’s lengthy criminal history — which also includes convictions for a jailhouse stabbing, gang rape and robbery — and criticized his explanation for the violence, saying he “blames the gang for his own choices.” Brown expressed concern about the risk Enriquez presented if released from prison, noting he remains an “active target” for the Mexican Mafia since leaving the notorious prison gang.“There is no doubt he is personally responsible for much more devastation,” the governor said of Enriquez. “Mr. Enriquez made a career of sophisticated gang warfare.”
The governor acknowledged the testimony from the adult children of one of Enriquez’s victims, who addressed a parole board for the first time in February, begging the panel to keep their mother’s killer behind bars. Cynthia Gavaldon’s family spoke “movingly,” Brown wrote, “about their enduring loss and pain.”
Gavaldon’s son said he was surprised by the governor’s decision, saying he and his sister felt defeated when the parole board granted Enriquez another chance at freedom earlier this year. Gavaldon’s children were 6 and 8 years old when their mother was fatally shot in 1989.
“Walking out of there that day, I felt like our statement meant nothing,” said Gavaldon’s son, who asked that his name not be published out of concerns for his safety. The governor’s decision, he continued, “really gives us a sense of justice.”
“Our voice really was heard,” he said.
Enriquez’s attorney did not immediately return a phone call or email seeking comment.
Original story from L. A. Times here: https://goo.gl/pXbqbS