A parole hearing today for an Orange County, Ca., man convicted in a thrill killing nearly 30 years ago has led to a spat between members of the California Republican Party over whether advocating his release is tantamount to being soft on crime, reports the Los Angeles Times. Paul Guardado, 46, will have a second parole hearing in two months to determine if he should be freed after serving 19 years of a 17-years-to-life sentence for aiding and abetting the 1979 killing of a man who was gunned down while walking at night through a park.
Guardado, who was 17 at the time, helped beat the victim before an accomplice shot him to death. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas called the murder heinous and a “cruel thrill kill.” Despite Rackauckas’ claim that Guardado has not expressed remorse, a federal judge found otherwise. Prison counselors wrote that while in prison Guardado has “evolved into a rational, responsible and insightful person” who poses minimal threat to the community. Santa Cruz lawyer and Republican National Committee member Timothy Morgan is pushing for Guardado’s release. While in prison, Guardado has earned his high school equivalency degree, an associate in arts degree and a paralegal certificate.