Several months ago I promised to provide an update, when I had one, on the results of a letter writing campaign asking California Governor Jerry Brown to overturn the upcoming parole of Arthur Craig Hulse for the 1970 murder of gas station attendant Jerry Wayne Carlin. Craig was also sentenced for his participation in the slaying of Florence Brown, a young wife and mother who had been car-jacked on her way to a PTA meeting.
Below is the follow-up on the story.
In 2013 I wrote a series of posts entitled “The Devil in Orange County” about one of the most notorious cases in the county’s history. My brother and I knew one of the killers, Arthur Craig Hulse. Nicknamed “Moose” he had been a visitor to my family’s home on many occasions during the time that he and my brother were in junior high school together.
Just days before Craig was busted, a good friend and I picked him up hitch-hiking. We had heard about the murders, they were headline news. On June 2, 1970 a gas station attendant, Jerry Wayne Carlin, had been beaten to death with a hatchet during a robbery that netted his killers $73, and the following day a school teacher, Florence Brown, had been stabbed multiple times. Her mutilated remains were discovered two weeks later in a shallow grave off of Ortega Highway. We had no idea that Craig was involved until we heard about his arrest.
I suggest that you read the posts for details about the crimes which resulted in Craig, 16 at the time, being tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. When I followed-up on his case nearly two years ago I discovered that he was still incarcerated and had been denied parole for the 13th time in October 2012. He was not supposed to be eligible again for 5 years.
Since I began this blog in December 2012, I’ve written about more than 300 historic crime cases, and I have been surprised at the number of emails that I’ve received from the family members of both victims and perpetrators. One of the most touching emails I have received was from Patricia Kramer, Jerry Wayne Carlin’s widow. Patricia wrote to me in October 2014 to inform me that Craig’s parole date had not only been moved up a few years, but that he had been granted release.
Patricia lives out of state and wasn’t notified of the parole hearing in time to make arrangements to attend, so Craig’s request for release went unopposed. We organized a letter writing campaign to ask Governor Brown to overturn the parole because at his previous hearing, about a year before, the board had stated that Hulse still constituted an unreasonable danger to the public. What could have changed in such a short time?
The big change had come with the adoption of Senate Bill 260 “Justice for Juveniles with Adult Prison Sentences” which went into effect on January 1, 2014. The bill requires that the parole board “…review the cases of people who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crime and look at them differently than it does people who were adults.”
As a result of SB 260, Craig was able to request an earlier hearing–and it was at that time that his parole was granted.
There are some very complicated issues surrounding appropriate sentencing and/or treatment of juveniles who commit serious crimes; and there are no easy answers.
California is one of a small handful of states which grants authority to the governor to overturn a parole board’s decision. While in office Governor Brown has disagreed with the board in about 20% of the cases, so there were no assurances that Craig’s parole would be overturned.
A couple of days ago I heard from Patricia. She told me that she had received word that Governor Brown had denied Craig’s release and that he would be eligible again in early 2015.
Patricia said that she will continue to oppose Craig’s release for as long as she lives.
Here are links to the 4 part series: The Devil in Orange County