Arroyo Grande teen’s murderer paroled

June 10, 2022

Royce Casey

By KAREN VELIE

Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen last week ordered parole for a San Luis Obispo County man who, as a teenager, killed a 15-year-old Arroyo Grande High School student in what was initially planned as part of a satanic ritual.

In 1995, Casey Royce, then 17, murdered Arroyo Grande High School freshman Elyse Pahler, with help from accomplices Jacob Delashmutt, then 16, and Joseph Fiorella, then 15. The three conspirators made plans to kill Pahler, who was their friend, and to dismember, sexually violate and cannibalize her body as part of a satanic ritual.

The teens strangled and stabbed Pahler. However, they did not carry out the planned satanic ritual. Rather, they dragged Pahler’s body and tried to hide it before fleeing.

While Pahler was on the ground crying out for her mother and for Jesus, Casey stomped on her neck and head.

Eight months later, with the murder still unsolved, Casey confessed the crime to a clergyman. He later described the murder to a district attorney investigator and led law enforcement to the body.

In 1997, Casey submitted a plea in the case, and he was convicted of first-degree murder. He has been incarcerated for 24 years.

In March, the California Board of Parole Hearings decided Casey, now 43, should be granted release from prison.

SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow then wrote a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom urging him to reverse the decision. Casey has never adequately explained why he participated in a such a sadistic and heinous crime, Dow wrote in the letter to Newsom.

Newsom denied Casey’s parole in July 2021. The governor concluding Casey must do additional work to deepen his insight into the factors that caused him to commit the crime, and he must develop coping skills before he can be safely released on parole.

Judge van Rooyen found Casey “has shown deep remorse,” and that it was Casey’s confession that led to the convictions, according to the judge’s order.

Casey “was not sentenced to life without the possibility of parole,” Judge van Rooyen wrote in his order. “If the ‘current dangerousness’ standard is to have any meaning, there must be some rational nexus between evidence in the record and the governor’s conclusion that Casey remains a danger to society. The court can find none.”


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WMW

“there must be some rational nexus between evidence in the record and the governor’s conclusion that Casey remains a danger to society.”


How about some rationale that Casey DOESN’T remain a danger to society?


jdchem

Her young life was worth only 24 of his, judge?


commonsenseguy

This sickens me. May his demise and life in hell come quickly.


horse_soldier

Well, he probably should have been let loose earlier, ya know with Covid and all…wouldn’t want the guy getting sick, would we?

Only in CA


derasmus

Huh??? You can’t be serious.


Florian75

By over-ruling the judgements of District Attorney Dow and Governor Gavin Newsom, I believe Judge Craig van Rooyen just accepted full responsibility for any heinous violent crime that the evil Royce Casey may inflict on another innocent victim in the future.


Borderline

This is an utter disgrace.


Zoiebowie

Speechless. Except for this and the word speechless. But you get my point.