Governor again reverses parole for SLO skateboard killer
November 6, 2015
For the second consecutive year, California Governor Jerry Brown has overturned a decision to parole a San Luis Obispo man, who at 13, used a skateboard to beat an 87-year-old man to death.
In 2005, Robert Holguin broke into Gerald O’Malley’s San Luis Obispo trailer, beat him to death and then drove off in the victim’s car. Following his murder conviction, Holguin was sent to a youth correctional center and later transferred to Patton State Hospital.
Holguin is now 23 years old. In accordance with California law, authorities must release him from the custody of California’s juvenile system when he turns 25 in Dec. 2016.
In March 2014, the California Juvenile Parole Review Board found Holguin no longer posed a threat to society and voted unanimously for his release. Brown vetoed the decision after state and federal investigators said Holguin hacked into a state-owned computer and sent a threatening email to the governor.
“i feel you should really eat my dick and eat it over and over again you better hope i never see you i will shoot you with a real gun and my cock. have a nice day and god bless,” Holguin allegedly wrote.
On Oct. 8, the juvenile parole board again found Holguin suitable for discharge. The parole board cited Holguin’s recent improvements in behavior, participation in therapy and plans for when he is reeased.
Brown vetoed the parole board’s decision on Wednesday.
“I am not willing to set aside Mr. Holguin’s pattern of disturbed thinking and manipulation after such a brief period of therapy and good behavior,” Brown stated in his decision to keep Holguin in custody.
While in custody, Holguin has threatened or attempted suicide several times, according to Brown’s statement. In 2009, Holguin attempted to hang himself and smear “666” in blood on his door. In 2011, he attempted to hang himself and smear feces on the walls of his room.
Holguin has also written “kill me” on the wall using his own blood, Brown states.
On Wednesday, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office issued a press release commending Brown’s decision.
“I applaud the governor’s decision to once again deny the early discharge of Mr. Holguin, as it shows that he still poses an unreasonable danger to society,” District Attorney Dan Dow said.
Earlier this year, attorneys argued in San Luis Obispo Superior Court over whether Brown exercised legitimate authority when he overturned the first decision to parole Holguin.
An attorney for the nonprofit Prison Law Office in Berkeley argued Brown’s authority to reverse parole decisions does not apply to minors. A deputy attorney general argued Proposition 89, which voters passed in 1988, gives the governor broad authority to reverse parole rulings.
San Luis Obispo Judge Linda Hurst ruled Proposition 89 did give the governor the power to reverse parole decisions that affect those in juvenile custody. Hurst cited a ballot pamphlet that she wrote in 1988 while she was working for the Legislative Analyst’s Office.