Aug 8, 2017

Murderer sentenced to CA State Prison for 25 to life approved for release on parole

Since Moonbeam wants parole to make these decisions instead of Judges, why bother with a review? This is why I am sharing this one case from the Mendocino County Attorney:

From Mendocino County District Attorney:

Following a contested parole hearing at San Quentin today, Manuel Ceja Granados, now 56 years of age, was approved for release on parole, Granados having served only the minimum of the sentence originally imposed.

Deputy DA Josh Rosenfeld appeared on behalf of the family of the victim and on behalf of the Mendocino County District Attorney to argue against release. The administrative decision to release Granados will now be subject to additional review by the Governor's Office.

From Ukiah Daily Journal (1992):

A 30-year-old Ukiah man was sentenced Friday to spend 25 years to life in prison for the shooting death of a Ukiah caterer on Christmas night 1990 at a local bar.

"I'd like to roll this all back and make it not happen in the first place," said Superior Court Judge James King before sentencing Manuel Ceja Granados to the lengthy prison term. "This is really a tragedy for everyone involved.

Granados, dressed in an olive green jail-issued jumpsuit with his wrists handcuffed to his waist and shackled at the ankles, showed little emotion during King's sentencing.

Granados killed 34-year-old Jose Enriquez, the former owner of El Yaqui Mexican Foods, after a brief argument at the Vineyard Bar, 720 N. State St. Granados shot Enriquez in the face with a 32-caliber handgun.

Earlier Granados' attorney Richard Petersen read a letter to King written by Granados, dated Jan. 6, in which Granados apologized and asked the judge to show some compassion.

"I swear to you it was never my intention to kill him. I regret the incident every happened and I feel shame," Petersen read from Granados' letter.

But later, the victim's widow, Roccio Enriquez, urged the judge to give Granados stiff punishment.

"It's been a very difficult and painful time for me and my family. I had to listen many times (during the trial) to the way my husband was murdered," Roccio Enriquez said in Spanish through an interpreter.

Prosecuting attorney David Eyster asked the judge for a stiff sentence -- 28 years to life.

"Granados just killed a man by shooting him in the head," Eyster said. "He even told police later he wanted to empty the clip in the victim's liver but was stopped."

Granados was found guilty last month of second-degree murder for killing Enriquez. Grandados was also found guilty of assaulting the bar owner with a firearm just minutes after the shooting, and guilty of a misdemeanor violation for threatening a witness during [the preliminary hearing].

Granados waived his right to a jury trial.

Petersen argued during the trial that Granados killed Enriquez accidentally during a scuffle on the barroom floor and that he had pulled the gun in self-defense because he feared the victim had a gun and was after him."

As additional background, District Attorney Eyster, in discussing the trial evidence from back in the Nineties, recalls that the "brief argument" referenced by the newspaper article was not even that.  Coming into the bar with a loaded, concealed handgun, the defendant claimed the victim had cursed him when, according to other witnesses, the victim had simply wished the defendant a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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