California’s parole board has approved Michael McDonald’s release three times and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed it each time, saying the convicted murderer showed a “lack of insight” into his crime because he still insisted he was innocent, says the San Francisco Chronicle. A state appeals court says that neither the governor nor the board can insist on a confession before paroling a prisoner who, based on the evidence, is not dangerous.
The court said McDonald’s background, his behavior during 17 years in prison and psychological evaluations all indicate that he poses little risk of future violence. McDonald was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life for the 1992 slaying of 16-year-old Alexander Geraldo, who was stabbed in the neck and strangled with a guitar string near Los Angeles. Prosecutors said McDonald, then a 16-year-old member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps in high school, got his orders from an Army soldier who was jealous of Geraldo’s involvement with his girlfriend and told members of a secret ROTC club to kill the youth.