Board Denies Parole For Ex-CHP Officer Craig Peyer

Craig Peyer Convicted Of Strangling Cara Knott In 1986

A parole board Wednesday denied parole for a former California Highway Patrol officer convicted of strangling a 20-year-old San Diego State University student during a 1986 traffic stop.

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Craig Peyer, 61, was convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the death of Cara Knott and was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.

Wednesday marked the third time Peyer has asked the California Board of Parole Hearings to grant him a parole date.

Since he was denied parole, Peyer will not be eligible for another parole hearing for 15 years.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who attended the hearing, said Peyer "continues to pose a very real danger to the public."

"Our office provided the board with information they needed to deny parole, and our efforts were bolstered by support from the victim's family and the community," Dumanis added.

According to authorities, Peyer followed Knott for 10 miles the night of Dec. 27, 1986, before pulling her over on Interstate 15 at the Mercy Road exit.

When the traffic stop became long, personal and uncomfortable, Knott tried to escape and was strangled.

Peyer, then 36, moved the woman's body to a nearby bridge and threw her over it.

He became a suspect when several other young women reported bizarre behavior from a CHP officer who had pulled them over at the same exit and detained them for between 30 minutes and two hours.

Peyer's first trial ended in a hung jury. He was convicted in 1988 after a second trial.

However, Peyer reportedly told a clinical psychologist, "I didn't do the crime. I'm sorry for what the Knott family has had to endure."

Knott's mother Joyce – as well as three siblings – attended Wednesday's parole hearing.

"We are consumed with grief and the suffering never ends," said Joyce Knott. "I still must take anti-depressants to make it through another day. The brutal manner in which Cara died will forever haunt me… After all these years, I still awaken with the intrusive vision of what really happened. I wish this murderer would tell me, yet I know that he is a master of deceit and only spins tales rather than telling the truth."

Knott's sister Cheryl said she was grateful for the community's support.

"Over 1,600 letters and he was denied parole," she said. "It's overwhelming."

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