Gov. Gavin Newsom will review the recommendation made by a two-person panel and could overturn it using his executive power.
Since taking office in 2019, Newsom has halted dozens of paroles of murderers, despite his vow to take on criminal justice reform, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Convicted killer Anthony King was 16 in September 1987 when he and another man shot 35-year-old Steve Patton in the face and threw his body in the Sacramento River where he had been fishing before stealing his truck for a joyride.
Two days after abandoning Patton’s truck, they shot Raymond Rogers, 29, and his wife Dawn Rogers, 32, as they fished in the same spot.
King and Kenneth Bivert also dumped their bodies in the river before stealing their car.
They were arrested a month later in Oregon and each sentenced in 1988 to 52 years to life.
In their recommendation this week, the parole commissioners found that King no longer posed an “unreasonable risk to society if released,” the Yolo County district attorney’s office said.
“You are now 49 years old. Your change is a complete turn-around from what we saw when you were 16. We felt you showed good insight and remorse and you have realistic parole plans,” Commissioner Rosalio Castro told King, according to a statement by the district attorney.
The governor has not indicated if he plans to overturn the recommendation.
“The governor’s reversal rate [on paroles] has dramatically increased over [former Gov. Jerry] Brown,” Charles Carbone, a specialist in parole hearings, said. “The question now becomes: Is it a matter of a new policy?”
“Each case that comes before the governor is evaluated on its own merits and receives careful review and consideration,” a spokesman for the governor said last year, according to The Times.
Bivert received the death penalty in 2001 for stabbing another inmate to death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.