A California man convicted of double murder in the ’90s has been found suitable for parole during a hearing that prosecutors weren’t allowed to attend, according to a local report.
Howard Elwin Jones shot and killed 18-year-old Chris Baker and another boy at a party in 1988. Jones was convicted three years later, but he had been about to turn 18 at the time of the crime.
Jones was denied parole at hearings in 2015 and 2017, respectively, but he has been found eligible for youth offender parole.
The main difference between the earlier and most recent hearings is that L.A. District Attorney George Gascón’s reforms prevent prosecutors from the DA’s office from attending parole hearings or advocating against a parolee’s release.
“Howard Elwin Jones was granted parole suitability today by the Board of Parole Hearings at his 3rd hearing,” the California Department of Corrections told FOX 11. “Jones is eligible for youth offender parole. The proposal is not final. Grants of parole suitability are subject to a 120-day review period.”
Standard procedure prior to Gascón’s arrival was that the prosecutor’s office would send representatives to hearings, but one of Gascón’s reforms in his raft introduced on his first day in office included an end to that long-standing practice.