Despite two reversals from Gov. Gavin Newsom, the California Board of Parole Hearings granted Jose Francisco Velasquez parole for the fourth time.
Velasquez (81) was sentenced to seven years to life in prison for the murders in December 1966, a sentence that reflected the sentencing scheme in effect at the time.
Velasquez led a gang that committed four murders during a crime spree in 1966. The murders were also committed by Luis Francisco Pacheco, Jose Luis Galvan, Frank Urrea Gonzales, and Juan Vasquez Garcia.
On July 29, 1996, Velasquez, Gonzales, and Garcia robbed Eduardo Dominguez, fatally stabbed him, and dumped his body in a ditch one and a half miles from King City.
Dominguez was acquainted with the defendants and had requested a ride home from the Resbalon Bar in King City. Gonzales pretended to run out of gas while driving, causing an argument between Garcia and Dominguez. Dominguez was stabbed and dragged from the car after a struggle. He was also clubbed and stabbed several times, as well as robbed of his shoes and $90 in cash.
Dominguez’s body was thrown into an irrigation ditch by the defendants, who later beat Galvan for not taking part in the murder.
Velasquez and the group murdered John Doe two weeks later. On August 7, 1966, Doe was drinking at the Top Hat Bar in King City and asked for a ride home. Velasquez recognized Doe from their common hometown.
Although the group agreed to drive Doe home, Velasquez demanded money from Doe. Doe claimed that he had already purchased rounds of drinks for the men. Pacheco drove the group after the defendants put Doe in their car, with Gonzales taking over after Pacheco was pulled over and cited for driving without a license.
When the car came to a complete stop, Velasquez opened the door and grabbed Doe by the head, telling Garcia to “go ahead.” Doe was then shot in the head by Garcia. Doe’s body was dragged across the road into a ditch, stabbed 55 times, and robbed of several items by the group. Before burying the body in a shallow grave, Velasquez sodomized it.
Later that evening, as the group was driving away from the crime scene, they came across three men walking down the road: Manuel Guerrero, Steven Sanchez, and Roberto E. Rodriguez. They talked about picking them up or running them over. Velasquez and Garcia intended to pursue them.
Gonzalez plowed into the three men, killing Guerro instantly and throwing his body into an irrigation ditch. Sanchez was knocked into a beet field after taking a glancing blow from the right front fender. Rodriguez was able to avoid being hit and took off through the fields. Velasquez and Galvan pursued Rodriguez but were unable to catch him and had to return.
Pacheco tracked Sanchez down and struck him with a club with three nails attached, fracturing his skull. Sanchez was stabbed 82 times by the group, each time with a knife. Sanchez attempted to defend himself and was stabbed defensively on both hands. Sanchez’s wallet was then taken by the group. Guerro and Sanchez’s bodies were discovered on the outskirts of King City on Spreckels Road, near a tomato and beet field.
Velasquez was appearing before the Board of Parole Hearings for the 19th time. In August 2018, he was granted parole at his 16th appearance.
Governor Jerry Brown revoked the parole in December 2018. Velasquez was granted parole again in January 2020, but it was revoked by Gov. Gavin Newsom in May 2020.
Velasquez was granted parole again in June 2021, but Newsom revoked it in October 2021.
The People wrote letters to the governor after each parole grant, requesting reversal. The Doe family has also been an active participant in the parole board process and continues to advocate for the denial of parole.
Velasquez’s lack of violence and rule breaking while in prison outweighed unsatisfactory answers in the areas of triggers, motivations, coping skills, understanding causative factors, self-awareness, and insight, according to the Board of Parole.
The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office has requested that Governor Newsom revoke the parole.
“We believe the inmate continues to pose an unreasonable current risk of harm to the public based on the egregious facts of these murders and currently lacks insight into both his responsibility for these murders and his sexual deviance,” the county prosecutor’s office stated in a press release.