According to reports on Sunday, California Governor Jerry Brown has decided not to block a parole board's ruling that would allow Sara Kruzan, who was originally sentenced to life in prison, to go free.
Kruzan, now 35, was first sentenced to life in jail as a 16-year-old in 1995. A jury found her guilty of first-degree murder in the 1994 shooting death of George Gilbert "G.G." Howard. Kruzan claimed that Howard, her former pimp, had sexually assaulted her and prepared her for work as a child prostitute starting at the age of 11.
Although she confessed to killing Howard and was found eligible to be tried in the juvenile system, Kruzan was instead transferred to an adult court. Then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted Kruzan's sentence to 25 years to life with the possibility of parole in 2011. Her conviction was also reduced to second-degree murder earlier this year.
A catalyst for the parole board's decision on Kruzan's case is new legislation that went into effect in January. State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco introduced a bill that would allow new sentencing hearings for juveniles sent to prison for life without parole. A second bill gives special consideration to juveniles tried as adults, given that they have served at least 15 years of their extensive sentences. Gov. Brown signed the second bill last November, instantly qualifying Kruzan for the special consideration.
"It is justice long overdue," Yee said of the parole board's decision.
The date of Kruzan's release is pending.