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Governor Gavin Newsom denies parole for San Diego Police officer's killer

Posted at 4:01 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 19:04:50-05

(KGTV) — Governor Gavin Newsom has reversed the decision to grant parole to a former gang member convicted of killing a San Diego Police officer.

On Jan. 18, Gov. Newsom reversed last year's decision by the state Parole Board to grant 57-year-old Jesus Cecena parole.

San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan requested Gov. Newsom reverse the Parole Board’s decision, saying his parole "would jeopardize public safety because Cecena minimized the true execution nature of his killing," according to a release.

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Cecena was convicted of killing SDPD officer Archie Buggs in 1978, after shooting the 30-year-old officer four times during a traffic stop in Skyline before killing him with a final shot at point-blank range, according to the DA's office.

Cecena, who was 17-years-old at the time of the slaying, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His term was later modified to seven years-to-life due to his age, making him eligible for Youth Offender Parole.

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“This defendant killed an on-duty police officer in cold blood and in spite of his claims to the contrary, he still lacks honest insight and remorse into this heinous crime,” Stephan said in a release. “We appreciate the Governor's thoughtful analysis and ultimate decision to reverse parole and safeguard the public. Officer Buggs was one of the first African-American police officers in San Diego and he was a hero to his family, his law enforcement colleagues and to the entire San Diego community. We will continue to fight for justice.”

Cecena has been denied parole at least 13 times, the latest being 2017, 2016, and 2014, each time citing the seriousness of his crime. The DA's office added Cecena has had an unstable social history in prison, receiving more than 10 violation reports for misconduct.

His next parole hearing is scheduled for February 2020.