Gov. Brown blocks parole for convicted murderer

ByMarc Brown and Lisa Bartley via KABC logo
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Gov. Brown blocks parole for convicted murderer
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Gov. Jerry Brown has blocked parole for a Southern California man convicted of killing an elderly couple 37 years ago.

SACRAMENTO (KABC) -- The convicted killer of an elderly Southern California couple will remain bars.

Gov. Jerry Brown reversed a decision by the California Board of Parole Wednesday to release Jose Gonzalez from prison, calling his crimes "chilling and unconscionable."

Gonzalez beat and bludgeoned James and Essie Effron back in 1977 in the basement of their San Diego clothing store. The Effrons planned to retire and were closing up the shop they'd run for decades. They hired Gonzalez as a temporary worker, but quickly fired him for being rude to customers.

Gonzalez and his accomplices tied the couple up with neckties and beat them with metal pipes. Essie Effron, who'd been undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer, bled to death at the scene. Her husband of 37 years, James Effron, held on for 12 days, but died shortly after learning his wife had not survived the attack.

Gonzalez, now 60, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in 1978. Since then, the Effron's adult children have attended each and every parole hearing, keeping up a steady campaign to keep their parents' killer behind prison walls.

When the Board of Parole found Gonzalez to be eligible for parole in February, the Effrons launched a letter-writing campaign to Brown. In the end, more than 1,000 letters were sent to Brown, urging him to reverse the board's decision.

On Wednesday, Brown announced he's reversing the board's decision and blocking Gonzalez's parole. Brown noted that Gonzalez continues to minimize his role in the crimes, telling the board he was "forced" to kill James Effron by his accomplices. Gonzalez, however, then accompanied his crime partners to Mexico where they pawned Essie Effron's jewelry.

"Mr. Gonzalez's statements simply do not add up," Brown wrote in a letter outlining his reasons for blocking his release.