ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Some of the state’s most dangerous criminals, convictedmurderers who were sentenced to life in prison after a change instate law in 1980, are lining up to ask for freedom from the stateparole board.
State lawmakers modified a state statute in 1980, declaringthat anyone sentenced to life imprisonment becomes eligible forparole after 30 years.
The law is now 30-years-old.
“The parole board still has jurisdiction over if thatperson is going to be granted parole or if they’re going tohave to keep serving time,” New Mexico Parole Board chairSandra Dietz said.
The first inmate eligible for parole under the 1980 statutewent before the state parole board March 1.
Rudolph Sena, 59, was convicted in a fatal shooting that tookplace at the old Music Box Bar in southwest Albuquerque in March of1980.
He was tried and convicted, and sentenced to 'life in prison'under the modified statute.
He was informed March 8 that his request for parole had beendenied, partly because his plan for adapting back into societywasn’t good enough.
“We did not think it was an adequate plan at thistime,” Dietz said. “It’s a very difficultdecision to make, because a lot of the crimes that we’relooking at, including Mr. Sena’s, are some of the mostegregious that have been conducted in our community.”
The state parole board will see another two inmates sentencedunder the statute later this year and another six inmates in 2011.
They include convicted murderers Donald Whittington, 56,William McGhee, 51, Robert Chavez, 60, Danny Gonzales, 49, RandyPense, 57, Walter Finnell, 50, Shane Lasiter, 45, and DavidCheadle, 51.
Cheadle was convicted in the fatal shooting death of formerUNM basketball star Gabe Nava in September of 1980, and the sexualassault of Nava’s girlfriend.
He will go before the parole board in August of 2011.
Even though the law makes inmates eligible for release after30 years, it in no way guarantees it, Dietz said.
The inmates have a lot to overcome and a lot to prove.
“We have to make a decision about public safety - andalso, what is the best interest of this parolee? Are we going toput them back out into a position where they are destined tofail,” Dietz said. “They’ve been incarcerated along time. This is a new world, a different world than when theywent in.”
Once inmates reach 30 years, they are eligible for paroleconsideration every two years.
Crews are on scene of a crash involving a pedestrian at Broadway and Lomas. Officials have closed eastbound Lomas at the intersection.
New Mexico honored a fallen hero Thursday as family, friends and law enforcement officers gathered for the funeral of Sandoval County Sheriff's Sergeant Robert Baron.
A Bernalillo County sheriff's deputy wounded in the line of duty spoke for the first time Thursday about her injury.
The International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell is getting a makeover.
Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have reignited a decade-old effort to seek federal protections for the Organ Mountains.
A rabies case has resulted in another family pet having to be euthanized.