AP — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday blocked the parole of an inmate who is serving a life sentence for the execution-style killing of a prison guard 36 years ago during a series of armed robberies.
Michael Martin, who is now 53, was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1977 slaying of Correctional Officer Victor Sam in Riverside County.
Sam had stopped to help Martin and his partner, David Benard, who were pretending to have car trouble to lure passing motorists to rob them.
Benard discovered that Sam was a guard on his way to work at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco and announced that "he has to die."
He forced Sam to lie down, then killed him with a shotgun.
It was one day after the officer had brought his infant son home from the hospital. Sam's father found his son's body three days later.
Martin was found with Sam's car a week later.
It was the second shooting that day, and one of at least six during a four-month crime rampage, according to Brown's written decision. Earlier that day, Benard shot a 60-year-old robbery victim in the face with his sawed-off shotgun, blowing away her mouth, chin and teeth.
The state parole board recommended that Martin be released, citing his age, remorse, acceptance of responsibility, good behavior, rehabilitation efforts, and realistic parole plans. continue reading...