California governor pardons 13, commutes 21 sentences

California Gov. Gavin Newsom listens to a question concerning his proposed 2020-2021 state budget during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Jan. 10, 2020.. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday pardoned 13 former prisoners, including three whose immigration status may benefit from the decision. He also commuted the sentences of 21 current inmates, including several who killed their victims and had been serving life-without-parole sentences.

Sophea Om, 37, was deported to Cambodia in 2011, where she now is a teacher. She sought the pardon to aid her bid to return to the United States, where her 16-year-old U.S. citizen son still lives. She was sentenced to two years in prison in 2006 after pleading guilty in Los Angeles County to acquiring an access card, according to the governor's office.

Ny Nourn, 39, of San Francisco is attempting to avoid deportation to Cambodia.

She was convicted of second-degree murder in San Diego County in 2003. Newsom's office said she was 18 when she helped lure her victim to his death at the direction of her 38-year-old abusive boyfriend, who shot him.

Both women were born in refugee camps in Thailand and legally entered the United States with their families, his office said, Om when she was 18 months old and Nourn when she was 5.

Chheng “Michael” Lao lawfully entered the U.S. when he was 5, and also is seeking to avoid deportation to Cambodia. He was 21 in 1995 when he was convicted of residential burglary in Los Angeles County. He is now married with two children.

Newsom's office called the deportations “an unjust collateral consequence that would harm their families and communities.”

Other pardons include:

— Melissa Arechiga, a single mother of five, was 21 when she was convicted in 1996 of carjacking in Los Angeles County.

— Jesus Avendano sought a pardon so he can become a nurse. The then-24-year-old was convicted in 1998 of arson in Los Angeles County.

— Steven Bohannan of Stanislaus County was convicted in 1994 of grand theft in Imperial County.

— Carlos Castaneda was 21 in 1995 when he was convicted of possessing marijuana for sale in San Bernardino County.

— Tina Renee Conklin, who now lives in Washington state, was 23 when she was convicted in 1987 of possessing marijuana for sale in Santa Clara County.

— Stephen Frize was 24 when he was convicted in 1996 of drawing a firearm and carrying a loaded firearm in public in Orange County.

— Richard Gamez of El Dorado County was 21 when he was convicted in Sacramento County in 1995 of presenting a false claim for payment.

— Robert Ilgenfritz was 21 when he was convicted in 2009 in Los Angeles County of possessing a controlled substance for sale.

— Richard Morrison, who now lives in Colorado, was 22 when he was convicted in 1994 in San Diego County of attempted second-degree burglary.

— Christopher Morton Osborn of Los Angeles County was 21 in 2002 when he was convicted in Orange County of possessing marijuana for sale and selling or transporting marijuana.

The 21 commutations of current inmates' sentences require them to appear before the Board of Parole Hearings, which will decide if they can safely be released.

They are:

— Andrew Aradoz, who was 14 when he shot and injured a 15-year-old rival gang member in Yolo County, according to Newsom's office.

— Dwayne Allen, 62, has served 41 years of a life-without-parole sentence from Kern County for fatally shooting a motel owner during a robbery in 1979, when he was 21 years old.

— Kathy Baker, 61, is serving a life term from Los Angeles County after a crime partner shot her ex-boyfriend following an argument in 2006, when she was 47. He survived.

— Carl Banks, 28, was 16 in 2007 when he killed his victim in a gang-related crime in Los Angeles County.

— Isaac Belmontez was arrested in 2011 for attempted murder for shooting and injuring two rival gang members in San Bernardino County.

— Louis Calvin, 60, was 45 when he fatally shot another driver who cut him off in traffic and punched him through an car open window in Santa Barbara County, according to Newsom's office.

— Yesica Cambero, 33, was 17 when she drove a vehicle in Los Angeles County in 2004 while her crime partner shot a rival gang member multiple times, causing paralysis in his arm.

— Yu Chen, 57, was 32 when he fatally shot a romantic rival during an argument in Los Angeles County in 1995.

— Paris Dixon, 62, was 25 in 1981 when he and two accomplices robbed an 88-year-old apartment manager of rent checks. Dixon stood on his back, breaking his neck and killing him. He was serving a life-without-parole sentence.

— James Heard, 44, was also serving a life-without-parole sentence from Los Angeles County. He was 22 in 1998 when he cut and sexually assaulted a girlfriend for cheating on him. He then made her invite her lover to their dorm room, where he shot the man before an accomplice fatally shot the victim.

— Frank Marquez, 31, was age 17 and then 18 when he robbed several Los Angeles County businesses at gunpoint, though no one was injured.

— Duncan Martinez, 50, was age 20 when he helped kill his roommate in Los Angeles County. He was serving a life-without-parole sentence after the victim was found fatally stabbed in a train tunnel. Before his body was found, the victim's parents received calls demanding a $100,000 ransom payment. But Martinez said they were to cover up the fact that his accomplice already had fatally stabbed the victim for making a joke at his expense.

— Jose Martinez, 31, was age 16 when he went to the Santa Clara County home of a rival gang member, put a red bandanna on the victim's face, then fatally shot him in the forehead.

— David Phillips, 44, was serving a life-without-parole sentence for a Los Angeles County robbery and slaying in 1996, when he was age 20. He used a pellet gun to shoot his victim, but they struggled and Phillips asphyxiated the victim after he pulled out his own handgun.

— Jered Pillsbury has served seven years of a 13 years-to-life sentence for stealing an autoclave machine from a veterinary hospital and robbing a tire store in Sacramento County.

— Richard Ponce was serving a life-without-parole sentence from Los Angeles County for helping an accomplice rob a victim the crime partner suspected was having an affair with his wife in 2000. During a struggle, Ponce threatened the victim with a knife before his partner killed the man.

— Adolfo Quiroz, 33, was 17 when he and an accomplice threatened a landlady's ex-husband in 2004 when they went to help the crime partner get back a deposit he had put on a room. He was sentenced in Los Angeles County to a life term for attempted murder.

— Miguel Ruiz, 52, was age 21 when he and an accomplice were each paid $2,000 to murder the father of a friend of his girlfriend in Orange County. Ruiz held the victim down while his partner fatally stabbed him. He was sentenced to life without parole.

— Cindy Thao, 36, was a 21-year-old Sacramento County sex worker in 2005, when she and three accomplices planned to rob a client who wouldn't pay. She used a car to block the client from leaving while a partner fatally shot the victim.

— Issa Wajeel fatally shot a man in 2008 in San Bernardino County for siphoning gas from his car.

— Thomas Waterbury, 61, fatally shot his wife while she slept to collect insurance money. He also shot himself in the chest and told investigators in San Bernardino County that they had been victims of a home invasion.