He helped torture, beat, and murder a 17-year-old
TULARE COUNTY, California – California Gov. Jerry Brown reversed the decision of a parole board in Tulare County to block the release of a convicted murder, the District Attorney’s Office said Friday.
Gerardo Zavala, 46, was going to be released from prison after 12 years because the parole board recommended it. He was convicted in 2006 of second-degree murder, torture, and kidnapping.
“While the governor and I don’t see eye-to-eye on a number of different issues pertaining to the direction of crime and punishment in our state, I commend him for looking at the facts of this case and the brutality of the crimes committed by the defendant and reversing the parole board’s decision,” District Attorney Tim Ward said in a statement. “We would also like to thank Crime Victims United and local law enforcement for advocating against his release. The thought of this monster returning to our area is frightening.”
On Jan. 24, 2001, Zavala and two others lured a 17-year-old African-American boy to a Delano residence to smoke methamphetamine. When they arrived, they went in to the garage where others were waiting, the DA said. The group jumped the victim while yelling racial epithets and accusing him of conspiring to steal their property.
The DA said they threatened the boy with an AK-47, and then the group began to torture him with electrocution from live wires, repeatedly inserted a squeegee handle into his rectum, and beat him with a pipe.
After hours of torture, the victim was bound in duct tape and thrown into a car trunk, taken to a remote road outside Allensworth, and shot 10 times at point-blank range — killing him, the DA said.
The victim was found with the words “Pepe’s Bitch” written on his back.
Zavala was arrested on Jan. 28, 2001 and confessed to being part of the torture and murder, the DA said.
Asst. District Attorney David Alavezos prosecuted five of the men involved in the mid 2000s. Alavezos described the crime scene as “the worst I have ever seen.”