Governor Newsom reverses parole board’s decision to set free convicted cop killer

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SAN DIEGO, CA – In an update regarding a story we covered in June about a convicted cop killer being granted parole in California, apparently the outrage over the parole board’s decision has reached the governor’s office.

And reportedly, California Governor Gavin Newsom reversed the decision reached by the parole board in June – ensuring this cop killer stays behind bars.

Jesus Cecena was 17-years-old at the time when he gunned down the-30-year-old San Diego Police Officer Archie Buggs back on November 4th, 1978. Back in June of this year, the now 59-year-old convicted murderer was granted parole, despite having been denied parole numerous times previously.

The details of the grim 1978 murder painted a portrait of something reminiscent of an execution, with Cecena having delivered four gunshots to Officer Buggs – with the final gunshot being delivered at point-blank-range.

When Cecena was granted parole by the board in June, it was noted that he’d been previously denied parole 14 times throughout his prison sentence, with recent denials coming in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019.

Every time Cecena was denied, the aspect that was most often highlighted was the seriousness of the offense committed.

Commenting on the then-decision reached by the parole board in June, Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs noted that his recommendation on the matter was at odds with the parole board’s decision.

Apparently, the parole board felt that Cecena was no longer a threat, while DA Sachs felt that Cecena still hasn’t “come to grips” with the gravity of the murder:

“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.”

When Officer Buggs was gunned down by Cecena, he was said to have died in his partner’s arms, Officer Jesse Navarro. Recollecting on the that fateful evening, Navarro recalled that this murder was something akin to a gang-style assassination of his late partner:

“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.”

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The parole hearing in June that sought to have Cecena eventually released back into the community lasted three hours, having taken place at the Valley State Prison in Fresno. After the hearing, the State Parole Board conferred for a period of roughly 30 minutes before deciding that Cecena would again see freedom.

In a press release in June from San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan’s office, they too were distraught that the parole board would allow a convicted cop killer to walk free again:

“We are deeply disappointed that the killer of one of San Diego’s finest officers was granted parole. This crime impacted the entire San Diego community and caused great pain for the family of Officer Archie Buggs.”

It suffices to say that there was no shortage of outrage over the parole board’s decision earlier this year. And that outrage caught the attention of Governor Newsom, who decided that intervention was required in this matter.

DA Stephen’s office was able to issue a more recent statement as of October 12th, detailing that Governor Newsom took interest in the fact that there was a gang-related factor associated with this case:

“District Attorney investigators Anthony Pellegrino and Dave Collins … reinvestigated the gang-motivation element of the murder, which was an important factor for Governor Newsom.”

Apparently, Cecena has been alleging throughout the years that this was never a gang-motivated killing of a police officer, but rather he killed Officer Buggs because he was scared of “getting in trouble with his father” over a possible speeding ticket and being in possession of alcohol when he was pulled over in 1978.

According to DA Stephen’s office, that “implausible” version of events alleged by Cecena was hardly convincing to Governor Newsom, so the granted parole was revoked by the governor’s office:

“Cecena has been clinging to an implausible account that he murdered Officer Buggs to avoid getting in trouble with his father, but the governor noted the real reason for the killing was to move up in his criminal street gang.”

For all the criticisms that can be levied toward Governor Newsom, this decision right here is one that merits commending.

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