Officer Archie Buggs, 30, was shot four times after he stopped a car driven by Cecena, a gang member in the Skyline neighborhood who was 17-years old at the time. Cecena fired five times at Buggs, then paused, walked toward the fallen officer and fired a final bullet into his head at point blank range. The officer died on the street, his hand still on his service revolver.
The parole board hearing was held this morning at Valley State Prison near Fresno, Calif., and lasted more than two hours. The board announced its decision after deliberating for about 30 minutes. This was Cecean’s 15th parole hearing during which included a discussion of his criminal record, psychiatric factors, parole plans, and statements by representatives of the victim’s family.
Gov. Jerry Brown will now receive the case in three to four months for review. The District Attorney’s Office immediately released a statement saying it will urge the governor to reverse the parole grant in the strongest terms possible.
“We’ll fight this decision with everything we’ve got,” said Dumanis. “Cecena’s words of purported acceptance ring hollow, and do not demonstrate that he has fully embraced the execution nature of this killing. He remains unpredictable and dangerous.”
Because Cecena was a juvenile at the time of the killing, a change in the law made him eligible for Youth Offender Parole last year. In April 2014, his release was approved by the parole board but Gov. Brown later overturned the panel’s recommendation in September. Cecena’s parole continues to be opposed by San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, Dumanis, and the San Diego Police Officers Association.
Cecena was convicted of murder and was sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole on Aug. 22, 1979. Because Cecena was 17 at the time he killed Buggs, his sentence was reduced to a 7 year-to-life term on March 31, 1982. Cecena was denied parole 13 times. Cecena’s unstable social history continued during his incarceration; he received more than ten violation reports for misconduct while in prison.