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Man convicted of killing San Diego officer in 1978 granted parole

Posted at 4:24 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 20:35:05-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A man convicted of killing a San Diego Police officer in 1978 in the city's Skyline neighborhood has been granted parole by a review board.

Jesus Cecena was convicted of killing SDPD officer Archie Buggs on Nov. 4, 1978, during a traffic stop. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after shooting the 30-year-old officer four times before killing him with a final shot at point-blank range, according to the San Diego District Attorney's office.

According to Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs on Wednesday, the parole board feels Cecena is no longer a risk to society. The San Diego District Attorney's office believes he should remain in prison.

"He hasn't come to grips with the crime. He doesn't own the causative factors of this offense. He does not accept his true motivation behind committing this crime," Sachs told 10News anchor Lindsey Pena on Tuesday.

The former gang member was 17-years-old at the time of the slaying. His prison term was later modified to seven years-to-life due to his age, making him eligible for Youth Offender Parole.

Since then, Cecena has been denied parole at least 14 times, the latest being 2019, 2017, 2016, and 2014. Each time, the seriousness of his crime was cited. The DA's office told 10News last year that Cecena has had an unstable social history in prison, receiving more than 10 violation reports for misconduct.

Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom denied Cecena parole.

Tuesday, Pena spoke with Buggs' former partner, Jesse Navarro. Navarro was there the day he and his partner made the traffic stop and remembers the day vividly.

"It was a planned execution by gang members in the area. They'd been talking about killing a police officer in the area for a number of months," Navarro recalls.

Buggs died right in Navarro's arms. Buggs was laid to rest just a month before he was supposed to get married.

"Not only we became partners but Archie and I became very good friends," said Navarro.