Brown denies parole for ex-Mexican Mafia killer Rene 'Boxer' Enriquez

Written By kolimtiga on Sabtu, 21 Februari 2015 | 12.56

Gov. Jerry Brown rejected parole late Friday for a former Mexican Mafia killer who left the prison gang and has spent more than a decade cooperating with authorities and speaking at law enforcement conferences.

Brown acknowledged the "valuable information" Rene "Boxer" Enriquez has provided authorities, but said in a statement that the "positive steps" were ultimately "outweighed by negative factors that demonstrate he remains unsuitable for parole."

"When considered as a whole, I find the evidence shows that he currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison," Brown wrote.

Enriquez, 52, is serving life in prison for two murders committed in 1989. He ordered the slaying of one woman, a dealer whom he suspected was stealing from him. He personally killed a fellow Mexican Mafia member who had fallen out of favor with the gang. His criminal history also includes jailhouse attacks on other inmates, drug sales and a sexual assault.

Enriquez defected from the prison gang in 2002 and has since provided intelligence and other help to law enforcement, acting as an expert witness in dozens of criminal trials and speaking at a number of conferences and training sessions. Officials with at least 11 federal and state law enforcement agencies wrote letters attesting to his contributions, which the parole board considered in reviewing his case.

His cozy relationship with law enforcement sparked public debate last month after he was escorted by the Los Angeles Police Department to a downtown Los Angeles event to give a talk to a private group of business leaders, with extensive security detail provided at taxpayer expense. After The Times and other media reported on the event, the private group offered to reimburse the city for the expense. 

The state parole board concluded that Enriquez was no longer a threat to society and found him suitable for release in September after a hearing that reviewed Enriquez's life and a lengthy criminal history that began at age 11. He committed burglaries and gang-raped a woman as a juvenile, and engaged in armed robberies as an adult before becoming a member of the powerful prison gang in the 1980s.

Within weeks of being released on parole in 1989, he ordered the death of Cynthia Gavaldon and gave a fatal overdose of heroin to David Gallegos, also shooting him five times in the head to make sure he was dead. While awaiting trial for the murders, he and another inmate stabbed a man 26 times with a jail-crafted shank in the name of the Mexican Mafia.

Enriquez told the parole board he was "truly, truly remorseful" for his crimes and that he was making amends by cooperating with law enforcement. With his knowledge of the Mexican Mafia, he said he had a "really good career" lined up if he were to be released. In addition to his law enforcement work, Enriquez has collaborated on two books on the gang and helped teach a class at UC Irvine.

"I cannot undo the past. But I can contribute to the future," Enriquez told the board. "I can contribute to dissuading other individuals from participating in this."

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office opposed Enriquez's release, accusing him of using his knowledge of the prison gang to "buy his ticket out of prison, to support his family, to make money." Deputy Dist. Atty. Joseph Shidler questioned what Enriquez would do if his services are no longer needed by law enforcement.

"What happens if that dries up? What is the inmate going to do?" Shidler asked the board.

None of Enriquez's victims or their families were present at the parole board hearing. Gavaldon's children, who were 6 and 8 at the time of their mother's death, said they only learned of Enriquez's potential release after a Times reporter contacted them this month.

The now-adult children, who asked not to be identified for their safety, said they were appalled to find out their mother's killer may be freed.

"He stole a piece of our lives from us," Gavaldon's daughter told The Times.

Enriquez told the board that if released, he would enter the federal government's witness protection program because he is on the Mexican Mafia's hit list for his cooperation with law enforcement. He would not appear in the state's public sex offender listing because of witness protection, he said, but would be under stringent monitoring by the U.S. Marshals Service.

For more Southern California news, follow @vicjkim and @katemather.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

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