FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Governor Gavin Newsom has granted 21 inmates clemency this month. Among them, a man who committed two murders in Fresno.
52-year-old Marcus McJimpson was convicted 31 years ago and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. According to the Governor’s office, McJimpson has lived on an honor yard since 2012 and they say he helped start the ‘Paws for Life’ dog program while in prison.
Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp wrote a letter to Governor Newsom opposing his move, stating McJimspon committed heinous acts and should not be released from prison.
It was May 4, 1988, when two lives were taken in Fresno: 22-year-old Vernon Joseph Clark and 20-year-old Scott Lee Walker. Marcus McJimpson was convicted for their murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
But 31-years later, Governor Newsom granted him clemency.
“This particular case and the commutation of the number of individuals here actually kind of applauds the whole concept of rehabilitation because what they’re doing is they’re looking at individuals cases of people and they’re saying is there any merit to allowing this person back into society,” said our legal analyst David Mugridge.
Mugridge says historically that’s what prison was all about, but it’s not always been the case.
A letter from the Executive Department State of California says that McJimpson understands the crimes he’s committed and says that he’s been rehabilitated.
“This kind of a situation offers the public the opportunity to think about all of these issues, what is their attitude on punishment of people,” Mugridge expressed.
He says just because McJimpson was granted clemency does not mean he will be released. Mugridge says it only means McJimpson is now eligible to apply for parole.
In her letter, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp opposed the decision to grant clemency, stating in part: “Our position has not changed regarding the heinousness of McJimpson’s crimes or the appropriateness of his sentence of life without the possibility of parole.”
According to Governor Newsom’s office, the crimes that the 21 inmates are serving time for vary. His office says many of the crimes were committed when the inmates were 26-years-old or younger.