CHOWCHILLA — A man who was 16 when he stabbed his landlord to death in May 1995 — and has been in Valley State Prison in Chowchilla since his conviction one year later — was denied parole during a hearing on Thursday.
Israel Jerome Garcia, 38, can seek parole again in three years, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell said.
According to Rosell, Garcia knocked on the door of his landlord, V.G. “Tex” Townsend, 77, pretending to visit him as he had many times before.
This time, however, Garcia had been planning to rob and kill him for about a week, Rosell said.
After chatting with Townsend for about 20 minutes, Garcia lunged at him with a razor blade and slashed and stabbed him 44 times as he begged for mercy, Rosell said.
Townsend died soon after trying to crawl away as Garcia kicked him in the head, Rosell said.
At the murder trial, the coroner testified that it took the victim 5-10 minutes to die.
While in prison, Garcia spent his first 18 years committing numerous crimes, including the trafficking of narcotics to the outside community with the help of his wife, Rosell said.
In 2001, Garcia slashed another inmate in the face with a razor blade.
In 2014, Garcia claimed to have an epiphany and began “self-help programming” at the prison, wrote an apology letter to the victim, and has been crime-free for the last four years, Rosell said.
Santa Cruz County Assistant District Attorney Kristina Oven argued at the hearing that, based on the depravity of the murder, Garcia cannot be rehabilitated by a mere four years of programming.
Oven also described Garcia as a lifelong manipulator that cannot be trusted when he claimed at the hearing that he could never kill again.