San Diego Police Department Officer Archie Buggs (left) and his convicted killer Jesus Cecena. Photos courtesy of the SDPD and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

District Attorney Summer Stephan said Monday she will attend an upcoming parole hearing for a gang member who shot and killed a San Diego police officer during a traffic stop in Skyline 40 years ago.

Stephan said she will be at Thursday’s hearing for Jesus Cecena at Valley State Prison near Fresno to bring a clear voice on behalf of Officer Archie Buggs’ family and keep his killer behind bars.

In the last four years, Cecena has been approved for parole three times by the Parole Board, but Gov. Jerry Brown overturned the board’s recommendation in each case.

Cecena’s parole continues to be opposed by San Diego police Chief David Nisleit, Stephan and the San Diego Police Officers Association.

“This was a cold-blooded execution of an on-duty police officer that devastated the officer’s family, his department and our community,” Stephan said. “This crime was callous and inexplicably senseless. It demonstrated a total disregard for human life and disdain for those in a position of authority.”

Buggs stopped a car driven by Cecena on Nov. 4, 1978. The teenage driver fired five times at Buggs, then paused, walked toward the 30-year-old fallen officer and fired a final bullet into his head at point-blank range.

Cecena was convicted of murder and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in 1979. Since he was 17 at the time of the murder, his sentence was reduced to seven years to life in March 1982.

Cecena has been denied parole 13 times. His unstable social history continued during his incarceration; he received more than 10 violation reports for misconduct while in prison, according to the D.A.’s office.

“To this day, Cecena has never accepted full responsibility for executing Officer Buggs and glosses over the full horror of his actions,” said Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs, who will argue against Cecena’s release. “Cecena’s words of purported acceptance ring hollow, and do not demonstrate that he fully embraced the execution nature of the killing. Unless and until he faces that, he will continue to be unpredictable and dangerous.”

–City News Service

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