A man who was 17 when he killed a San Diego police officer during a 1978 traffic stop was granted parole Friday, prompting the city’s police chief and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to call on the governor to reverse the state Board of Parole’s decision.
Jesus Cecena, 54, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole in the death of Officer Archie Buggs.
Because Cecena was a juvenile at the time of the murder, his sentence was reduced in 1982 to seven years to life.
Cecena was denied parole 13 times. His unstable social history continued during his incarceration — he received more than 10 violation reports for misconduct while in prison, authorities said.
A change in the law made Cecena eligible for Youth Offender Parole last year. In April 2014, his release was approved by the parole board, but Gov. Jerry Brown overturned the panel’s recommendation five months later.
The Board of Parole again granted Cecena parole today, despite opposition by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis — who personally attended the parole hearing at Valley State Prison near Fresno — immediately released a statement urging Brown to reverse the parole grant.
The governor will receive the case in three to four months for review.
“We’ll fight this decision with everything we’ve got,” Dumanis said. “Cecena’s words of purported acceptance ring hollow, and do not demonstrate that he has fully embraced the execution nature of this killing. He remains unpredictable and dangerous.”
Cecena’s parole is also opposed by San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and the San Diego Police Officers Association.
“To say we are disappointed by the parole board’s decision in granting parole of convicted cop killer Jesus Cecena is an understatement, ” Zimmerman said.
“This sends the exact wrong message to criminals in our society. Officer Archie Buggs was devoted to helping people and saving lives,” she said. “Jesus Cecena was a gang member who shot and killed Officer Buggs because he was a police officer.
“He is a cold-blooded killer who poses a clear danger to the citizens of California. I will be fighting this decision and urge all of you to join me and petition Governor Brown to veto this terrible decision.”
Buggs was shot four times after the 30-year-old officer stopped a car driven by Cecena, a gang member in the Skyline area.
Cecena fired five times at Buggs, then paused, walked toward the fallen officer and fired a final bullet into his head. Buggs died on the street, his hand still on his service revolver, authorities said.
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