In a few weeks, a former California Highway Patrol officer convicted of murdering a San Diego State University student in 1986 will have a chance to ask a parole board to release him.
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On December 27, 1986, Cara Knott was on her way home to El Cajon from her boyfriend's house in Escondido when she was pulled over by CHP Officer Craig Peyer.
According to prosecutors in the case, Peyer signaled Knott to pull off Interstate 15 to Mercy Road. When Knott became uncomfortable around Peyer and tried to escape, prosecutors said the patrolman struck her with a flashlight, strangled her and then dumped her body over a bridge.
Attorney Paul Pfingst, who prosecuted Peyer, said he still rails at the memory of the man who violated the public's trust.
"He took a 20-year old girl off the road in uniform, strangled her with a rope until she was dead after beating her with his flashlight and then [dumped] her body off a bridge to drop 100 feet to rocky ground," said Pfingst.
Peyer has twice been denied parole. His third hearing is set for January at the Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo.
Joyce Knott, Cara's mother, will be there, too.
"Going up there is dreadful and it's awful to be getting ready for a parole hearing during the holidays. It's only been four years; here we go again," Knott said.
The Knott family is asking for letters of support to "help block this parole." One flier features pictures of Cara from childhood to just before her death.
"It sounds like the letters really do have an effect," said Knott.
She remembers the parole commissioner saying that every single letter is read. She's hoping this time the board will deny parole and set the next hearing at the maximum -- 15 years from now.
"Because we're the ones who are sentenced to life; it's forever for us," Knott told 10News.
Sam Knott, Cara's father, established the San Diego Crime Victims Oak Garden near the Mercy Road offramp where she was killed. He died there seven years ago while tending to the garden of oak trees.
Sam Knott successfully pushed for legislation that made responding to a missing persons report a priority for law enforcement.
Peyer, who was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, is scheduled to have his parole hearing on January 11, 2012.
For those opposed to parole for Peyer, letters can be written to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office or Parole Board.
Click here to view a letter from the Knott family
Click here to view a flier with information on where to send letters of opposition
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