Gov. Newsom commutes sentence of man sentenced to life without parole for 1979 Kern County murder

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Gov. Gavin Newsom announces new criteria related to coronavirus hospitalizations and testing that could allow counties to open faster than the state, during a news conference at Mustards Grill in Napa, Calif., Monday May 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)

KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KGET) — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday commuted the sentence of a man who had been serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for a 1979 murder in Kern County.

Dwayne Allen was 21 when he was sentenced on Aug. 8, 1979, for the fatal shooting of Chhotubhai Patel during a robbery Allen carried out with an accomplice, according to a release from the governor’s office. With the governor’s commutation, Allen will now be able to seek parole.

Allen, 62, “has dedicated himself to rehabiliation,” the release says. He earned his GED, completed vocational training, maintained consistent employment and received exceptional work ratings from his supervisors.

“I have carefully considered and weighed the evidence of (Allen’s) positive conduct in prison, the fact that he was a youthful offender, his advanced age and long-term confinement, and his good prospects for successful community re-entry,” Newsom said. “I have concluded that Mr. Allen merits the opportunity to make his case to the Board of Parole Hearings so it can determine whether he is suitable for parole.”

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