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Supporters of convicted murderess Sara Kruzan ask D.A. to give her a second chance

Monday, September 17th, 2012
Issue 38, Volume 16.
Paul Young
Special to the Valley News

RIVERSIDE - A small group of family and supporters of a convicted murderess delivered a 25,000-signature petition today to Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach, asking him to change his position in the case and give the woman a shot at freedom.

"I so deeply want her to be free. I want you guys to know that," Carrie Christie, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based Free Sara Kruzan campaign, told a representative of the D.A.'s office while delivering the petition at the Regency Tower in downtown Riverside.

Christie broke down in tears, asking to personally deliver the boxed petition to Zellerbach or his assistant.

"I just want him to see me and know that she's such an amazing human being," the woman said.

John Hall, the public information officer for the D.A.'s office, accepted the petition on behalf of Zellerbach after meeting with Christie alone in a conference room.

Hall declined to comment on the case, which has been the subject of a back-and-forth legal contest between prosecutors and Kruzan's attorneys, culminating in a hearing before the state's highest court earlier this year.

Kruzan was convicted in 1995 of first-degree murder with special circumstance allegations of lying in wait for the March 1994 slaying of 36-year-old "G.G." Howard, who had been her pimp. Kruzan was 16 years old at the time of the killing and was prosecuted as an adult.

According to published reports, the teenager arranged to meet Howard at a Riverside motel, where she shot him through the neck, stealing his $1,500 in cash and sports car and leaving him dying in the room.

Kruzan was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Before he left office, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted her sentence to life with the possibility of parole. Her first parole hearing will be in 2017.

However, Kruzan's lawyers pushed to have the facts of her case reviewed in light of the fact that she might be eligible for an "intimate partner abuse" defense, a relatively new legal strategy in California comparable to a defense based on "battered woman's Advertisement
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After repeatedly opposing Kruzan's appeals, the state attorney general's office in May abruptly backed off its position that Kruzan and Howard had been in a business relationship as prostitute and pimp, conceding she could have been the victim of child exploitation and abuse.

Kruzan alleges Howard sexually assaulted her twice before putting her to work on the streets at the age of 13. Between ages 11 and 13, Howard had taken an interest in her, providing her money, ice cream and other favors to win her trust, according to supporters.

Kruzan's defense in her 1995 trial was that her new pimp, James Hampton, had ordered her to kill Howard and threatened her life if she didn't follow through.

In June, the California Supreme Court issued an order to show cause in the Kruzan case, instructing the Riverside County District Attorney's Office to explain why the defendant should not be entitled to a new trial based on the "intimate partner abuse" argument.

Zellerbach has until tomorrow to formally respond, after which Kruzan's attorneys will have 30 days to respond to the D.A.

Los Angeles attorney Ron McIntire said that the goal is to have his client's conviction reduced from first-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter, which would result in her immediate release from prison, because she's been behind bars for nearly 18 years -- well over the time required for a manslaughter conviction.

But the D.A. must stipulate to a reduction. If Zellerbach opposes it, McIntire said, then Kruzan's defense team will argue before a Riverside County Superior Court judge to allow a retrial of the case.

No hearing dates have been set.

In the meantime, the 34-year-old Kruzan has become what state corrections officials describe as a model prisoner, providing counseling to other inmates while living in the "honors" dormitory at Chowchilla State Prison.

"She's excelling as much as you can in prison," Anne Rogan -- one of eight people who carried the petition into the DA's office today -- she said of her niece. "We're very hopeful the DA will make the right decision."



Comment Profile ImageAnne Rogan
Comment #1 | Monday, Sep 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm
Thank you for this story. Free Sara!!!!!!!!!!
Comment Profile ImageTia Ascar
Comment #2 | Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 4:16 am
May God Bless Sara especially today & ALWAYS!!!! I pray for the DA, that he will review all of the information involved and that she's released. I pray for all that has been with Sara and supporting her cause. May Sara now be blessed with a new life filled with purpose!
Comment Profile ImageJoanne Royston
Comment #3 | Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 5:22 am
I live in England and heard about Sara's story here. Please free Sara!
Comment Profile ImageCynthia
Comment #4 | Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 8:38 am
Free this girl. She needs to have a new start at life. So many children fall into this, not because it's what they want but what they are led to want. Give her a chance to have a better life.
Comment Profile ImageDiana Powell
Comment #5 | Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 9:07 am
Please, free Sara Kruzan she was and still is a victim..
Comment Profile ImageMar Cárdenas
Comment #6 | Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 9:15 am
I live in México and I have been following Sara's story for several weeks. I believe it's a travesty of justice to keep her behind bars. Libertad!
Comment Profile Imagecurious
Comment #7 | Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm
I just wonder how many people would feel the same if this was a young male who killed someone. shot them stole their money and fled.
Comment Profile ImageMargaret
Comment #8 | Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm
Do the right thing and free Sara.
Comment Profile Imagejamie jo jesus
Comment #9 | Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm
free sara now...what kind of sick world are we living in that incarcerates the innocent and tortured and abused...really
Comment Profile Imagec
Comment #10 | Thursday, Sep 20, 2012 at 9:36 am
Sara Kurzan did the right and only thing she could, in self defense and after being abused.
She should be freed.
I think it should be a law that abused women and children have the right to lethal self defense.
No one else is protecting them.
Comment Profile ImagePaige
Comment #11 | Friday, Sep 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm
I've known Sara since2004, I've served time with Sara and she pursues each day with purpose, life in prison is a self help program....and when you are serving a life sentinel, very little is expected of you.I can honestly say that Sara has educated herself, maintained a responsible job that has benefited the community, state's and country by silk screening the CalIfornIa. and U.S.FLAG in a lead positions,she is veiwed by Correctional Officers as a model prisoner as well as learning the law and fighting to co-write a the law that gives juveniles sentenced to L.W.O.P.(IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN) another chance to thrive as adults if they've earned this chance. I believe that Sara is the perfect candidate for parole. She is also the victim in this crime. Bottom line, ask yourself this question, what if Sara was you, or your chIld, what would you have done? There was no-one to protect Sara against the atrocities that she endured, except Sara...the mental and physical abuse she endured is unthinkable, and child's mind cannot fully understand the consequences involved. Het sentenced was cruel and.usual, she should have been sentenced to juvenile life(released at age 25) and counseled by child psychologists to heal this beautiful child that could have been anyone of us or our babies.Sara has actively participated in taking responsibility for her actions and her healing her beautiful spirit that the pimp,G.G. attempted to destroy. PLEASE TELL ANYONE WHO WILL. LISTEN TO SARA'S story, PLEASE SENTENCE SARA TO TIME SERVED .HER LIFE IS PRECIOUS AND SHE DESERVES TO LIVE IY AS A FREE WOMAN, SHE'S PAID HER DEBT AND MORE. HELP ANYWAY YOU CAN TO SEND HER HOME
Comment Profile ImageAnthony Bernard
Comment #12 | Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm
Crimials need to pay for their crimes.Sara belong s in prison we nned to focus on helping the young people who are try to be lawful citizens.What will all those do gooders would say when she takes another life.
Comment Profile ImageSHansen
Comment #13 | Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm
Please Free Sara!!!!!

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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