Crime

SLO skateboard killer’s parole blocked a second time

In this March 2005 photo, a San Luis Obispo police officer walks past the home of Gerald O’Malley, who was found dead inside by police.
In this March 2005 photo, a San Luis Obispo police officer walks past the home of Gerald O’Malley, who was found dead inside by police. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

For the second time, Gov. Jerry Brown has blocked the parole of a man who as a teenager killed an elderly man with a skateboard, citing disturbing behaviors the man has shown while incarcerated.

Last month, a California Juvenile Parole Board found that Roberto Holguin, now 23, no longer poses a threat to public safety. But Brown, in a two-page decision, rejected that recommendation, citing Holguin’s “history of manipulation and misconduct throughout his incarceration.”

Holguin broke into 87-year-old Gerald O’Malley’s mobile home and bludgeoned him to death with a skateboard on Feb. 27, 2005. The following year, a juvenile court judge found that Holguin had committed the murder.

Because he was under 14 at the time, however, Holguin could only be sent to the state’s juvenile rehabilitation system, and he must be released by the time he turns 25, in December 2016.

Still, Holguin has twice sought early release, both in 2014 and again last month. On Oct. 8, the juvenile parole board cited recent positive gains, insight into the crime and good behavior, according to Brown. He has also participated in therapy and group programs.

One psychologist wrote in September that he “has met and surpassed all expectations, does not present a risk to the community, and has gained maximum benefit from his treatment and training,” Brown noted.

But, Brown added, Holguin still exhibits troubling behaviors.

After Brown reversed his parole last year, Brown wrote, Holguin began to deteriorate psychologically and showed increased paranoia, depression and non-compliance with staff direction. When transferred to another facility, Brown wrote, Holguin became angry, frustrated, irritable and argumentative, making vague suicidal threats.

Holguin has threatened suicide at various times, Brown noted, when faced with stressful or difficult circumstances, “including cutting himself with a crucifix and writing ‘kill me’ on the wall in his own blood in 2007, attempting to hang himself and smearing ‘666’ in blood on his door in 2009, and attempting to hang himself and smearing feces on the walls of his room in 2011.”

Brown previously noted Holguin’s journals, which contained violent fantasies, including ones that suggested he was interested in becoming famous for high-profile violence.

“Until he shows a more consistent and sustained period of stability and positive behavior ... I do not believe he is ready to be released,” Brown concluded.

The District Attorney’s Office supported the decision.

“I applaud the governor’s decision to once again deny the early discharge of Mr. Holguin, as it shows he still poses an unreasonable danger to society,” District Attorney Dan Dow said in a press release.

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