May 4, 2011 - On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 2nd and 3rd, Deputy District Attorneys from the Nevada County District Attorney's Office attended lifer parole hearings in Susanville, at High Desert State Prison and Soledad. Both inmates's bid for release was denied. District Attorney Cliff Newell notes; "sending a defendant to prison for life is only the first step, my Office's responsibility continues long after to insure that the convicted finish their terms."
On Monday, May 2, 2011, the California Board of Parole Hearings denied parole to convicted murderer Grid Lee Margraf. Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Gregory Weston attended the hearing to argue against release from prison.
On September 29, 1984, in the Town of Truckee, Margraf fired two rounds from a .38 caliber revolver at an unarmed victim. One round hit the victim's left forearm. The fatal round struck the victim's chest, severing his aorta. The victim was seated in a parked truck and posed no threat to anyone when Margraf shot him from close range. Following a jury trial, Margraf was found guilty of 1st degree premeditated murder with a handgun. He began serving a sentence of 27 years to life on September 4, 1985.
In denying parole, the Board found that Margraf's release would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society and be a threat to pubic safety. This is the fourth time that Margraf has been denied parole. The Board of Parole Hearings will not reconsider releasing Margraf before March of 2014. He remains incarcerated at the California Training Facility near Soledad.
David Stephens had his first parole eligibility hearing on May 3, 2011. DDA Oliver Pong appeared for the hearing at High Desert State Prison near Susanville, California. Stephens was convicted of a 1st degree murder in the brutal shotgun slaying of Martin Munson on December 23, 1991, in an apparent marijuana theft with three other co-defendants. David Stephens is serving a 25-life sentence with a 5 year firearms enhancement for a total of 30-life.
The Parole Board considered Stephens's role in the crime, specifically reviewing his role as the ringleader and organizer. The board delved into Stephen's lack of insight into his actions. Stephens denied being the shooter, blaming his conduct on his alcohol and drug use and being fingered by the co-defendants as the shooter in spite of his admissions as the shooter to various people including his girlfriend at the time. Stephens claimed she made those statements out of spite. He later married her. He also claimed he could not recall making those admissions.
DDA Pong argued that Stephen continues to minimize his conduct for the callous brutality of his crime, and his failure to take any steps to advance his education, skills training, or vocational experiences would make him unsuitable for parole release and integration back into society.
The Parole board denied his parole application and to continue his incarceration for another five years before re-consideration.
Even though a defendant is convicted and sentenced to "life in prison" in most cases, the law allows for them to apply for parole after a certain period of time. It requires constant vigilance from the District Attorney's Office, law enforcement and victims to ensure that these criminals serve their full sentence and remain segregated from the rest of society. The District Attorney's Office attends most of these hearings in person and, occasionally when necessary, by video conference.
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