April 19, 2024
In Dec. 1966, Velasquez (81) was sentenced to seven years to life for the 4 murders – a sentence that reflected the sentencing scheme in effect at the time.

The California Board of Parole Hearings granted parole to Jose Francisco Velasquez for the fourth time, despite two reversals from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In Dec. 1966, Velasquez (81) was sentenced to seven years to life for the murders – a sentence that reflected the sentencing scheme in effect at the time.

Velasquez was the ringleader of a group that committed four murders during a crime spree in 1966. Luis Francisco Pacheco, Jose Luis Galvan, Frank Urrea Gonzales and Juan Vasquez Garcia were also involved in the murders.

The group committed the first murder on July 29, 1996, when Velasquez, Gonzales and Garcia robbed Eduardo Dominguez, fatally stabbed him and left his body in a ditch one and a half miles from King City.

Dominguez was an acquaintance of the defendants and had asked the group for a ride home after drinking at the Resbalon Bar in King City. While driving, Gonzales pretended to run out of gas, initiating an argument between Garcia and Dominguez. A struggle ensued and Dominguez was stabbed and dragged from the car. He was also clubbed and stabbed multiple times and robbed of his shoes and $90 cash.

The defendants threw Dominguez’s body into an irrigation ditch and later beat Galvan for not participating in the murder.

Two weeks later, Velasquez and the group also murdered John Doe. Doe had been drinking at the Top Hat Bar in King City on Aug. 7, 1966 and asked the group for a ride home. Velasquez knew Doe from their shared hometown.

The group agreed to drive Doe home, but Velasquez demanded money from Doe. Doe argued that he’d already bought the men rounds of drinks. The defendants put Doe in their car and Pacheco drove the group, Gonzales taking over after Pacheco was pulled over and cited for driving without a license.

When the vehicle stopped, Velasquez opened the car door and grabbed Doe by the head, telling Garcia to “go ahead.” Garcia then shot Doe in the head. Doe’s body was dragged across the road into a ditch, stabbed 55 times by the group and robbed of several items. Velasquez sodomized the body before burying it in a shallow grave.

Later that evening, while driving away from the scene of the murder, the group came across three men walking down the road: Manuel Guerrero, Steven Sanchez and Roberto E. Rodriguez. The defendants discussed picking them up or running them over. Velasquez and Garcia wanted to run them down.

Gonzalez drove at the three men, killing Guerro on impact and knocking his body into an irrigation ditch. Sanchez received a glancing blow from the right front fender and knocked into a beet field. Rodriguez was able to get out of the way and took off through the fields. Velasquez and Galvan took off after Rodriguez but were unable to catch him and returned.

Pacheco located Sanchez and hit him with a club with three nails attached, causing a skull fracture. The group stabbed Sanchez 82 times, each using a knife. Sanchez attempted to defend himself and received defensive stab wounds on his hands. The group then took Sanchez’s wallet. Guerro and Sanchez’s bodies were found on the edge of a tomato and beet field on Spreckels Road outside of King City.

This was the 19th time Velasquez had been before the Board of Parole Hearings. He was granted parole at his 16th appearance in Aug. 2018.

In Dec. 2018, Gov. Jerry Brown reversed the grant of parole. Velasquez was granted parole again in January 2020, which was reversed in May 2020 by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Velasquez was again granted parole in June 2021, which Newsom reversed in October 2021.

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In each grant of parole, the People wrote letters to the governor asking for reversal. The family of John Doe have also been active participants in the parole board process and continue to advocate for denial of parole.

The Board of Parole found that Velasquez’s lack of violence and rule breaking while in prison outweighed unsatisfactory answers in the areas of triggers, motivations, coping skills, understanding causative factors, self-awareness and insight.

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office has asked Gov. Newsom to reverse the grant of parole.

“We believe the inmate continues to pose an unreasonable current risk of harm to the public based on the egregious facts of these murders and currently lacks insight into both his responsibility for these murders and his sexual deviance,” the county DA’s office said in a press release.