UNITED STATES−On January 15, Tulare County District Attorney, Tim Ward addressed California Governor Gavin Newsom after he chose to take “no action,” after killer and torturer, Gerardo Zavala, of Mexico came up for parole.
Zavala has been up for parole three times. First in 2017, when former Governor Jerry Brown wrote “A Scathing letter,” regarding Zavala. He revoked Zavala’s possibility of parole and it was revoked again in 2018.
In October 2020, prosecutors objected Zavala’s parole, but the parole board recommended his parole again.
Co-defendants included Jorge Vidal, Keith Seriales, and Daniel Portugal who were all sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Tyrone Ebaniz was sentenced to 15 years for kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. Gerardo and Juan Soto, who are brothers fled to Mexico.
In January 2001, Zavala and his co-defendants coerced Eric Jones, 17, into a house to do meth with them. They brought him into the garage and began accusing him of trying to steal from them, threatening him with an AK-47 while using racial slurs against Jones who is Black.
They beat and sodomized Jones with a pipe, an at one point, they reportedly attached copper to Jones’s fingertips and ran a wire to an electrical outlet. He was tortured for hours and shot point-blank up to 10 times.
A jury convicted Zavala in 2006 of second-degree murder, torture, and kidnapping. He was serving a prison sentence of 18 years to life when he came up for parole for a “stellar disciplinary record.”
Assistant District Attorney David Alavezos prosecuted five of the seven men involved in the crime. He referred to the scene as, “The worst I have ever seen.”
California DA calls out Gov. Newsom after release of convicted killer https://t.co/Tjj5bAeuUj
— Tulare County DA (@TulareDA) January 28, 2021
“Twenty years ago, this week, Eric Jones’ life was violently cut short. Now, instead of taking this time to remember him, his family has to process this heartless decision. The Governor has ignored the pleas of this office, the pleas of this community, and has even turned a blind eye to the wisdom of his predecessor, Governor Jerry Brown, who saw through the manipulation and deception of Zavala’s previous bid for release,” said Ward. “It is a sad day for families who have had to endure the loss of a loved one due to violent crime. How Governor Newsom refused to take a stand for Eric, an innocent 17-year-old young man who was brutally tortured, sodomized, and executed, is beyond comprehension.”
According to information provided to the Office of the District Attorney by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Zavala currently possesses an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold.
It is unclear how recent federal executive orders regarding deportations will impact Zavala’s release.
For more details contact Governor Newsom’s office at (916) 445-2841 or visit https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/.