The Devil in Orange County – 2015 Update

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.

murder suspects

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.

craig hulse photoPatricia 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

The Devil in Orange County

The Devil in Orange County, Part 2

The Devil in Orange County, Part 3

The Devil in Orange County, Part 4

6 thoughts on “The Devil in Orange County – 2015 Update

    • I’m not sure, but it looks that way. Because Craig was tried and convicted as an adult SB 260 allows him to request hearings that are closer together. I am not sure, because I haven’t read all of the bill, if the hearings can be requested annually or not. In any case it is awful for the families of the victim to have to re-live the death of a loved one over and over again.

  1. First, I have to say, you did a good job researching and summarizing this case.
    I do have one question for you regarding your reasoning behind advocating against hulme’s release on parole all of these years after he was found to be insane, not insane, and somewhat sane when, as a 16 year old kid who injected powerful psychotropic drugs, he killed a gas station attendant while he was under the direction of a gang leader…
    There are a couple of problems (as in societal, macro level policy issues) I see with the reasoning and culminating factors which determine if a ex-youthful offender tried as an adult recieves parole. That is, in a system that declares “equal justice under law”, it seems to me that the primary determining factor for granting parole in cases like this is that someone who has been aggrieved still cares enough to show up and oppose parole (or start a letter writing campaign as you did, after parole was granted). If no one does, their chances of getting paroled increase as you have stated.
    I donno, it seems pretty arbitrary to me. Like, if all else is equal, why should some family member or friend still dwelling on a crime decades old to the point that it motivates them to make a yearly pilgrimage to chino, solidad, susanville or wherever so that they can keep someone incarcerated because they have been hurt? This is vengance, not justice, and certainly not equal justice.
    Also, it sounds to me like this kid had a pretty effed up family life, then fell under the direction of a fatherly gang leader, who just happens to match the description of a psychopath pretty succinctly. I guess what I’m saying is, had hulme gone to rob the gas station all by himself, do you really think he’d take time out to murder the kid at the counter before seeking his next fix? I don’t…
    And solitary confinement as a delusional 16 year old? If he wasn’t unhinged previous to this, this will do it.

    • In this particular case I have the advantage of having been acquainted with Craig through my brother. The two went to school together. We were aware of Craig’s horrendous family life and the fact that he wasn’t the brightest nor best adjusted kid was exacerbated by his extreme drug use. Craig gave his reason for the murder when he said that Jerry Carlin had “bugged him” and that’s why he beat him to death. I don’t see the family members of the victims as vengeful, I think for them it is a matter of justice and fairness. They have been deprived of a loved one forever. I can’t even imagine how that must feel. Having family members show up at parole hearings makes a powerful statement, but it isn’t the only factor in keeping someone in prison–the board has to agree that the inmate still presents a danger to the public. In Craig’s case he was denied release about a dozen times based in large on his lack of participation in some of the programs offered to prisoners, and he didn’t seem to grasp the magnitude of what he had done. He’s had over 40 years to make significant changes, yet he seems not to have done so. Believe me Steve Hurd wasn’t a father figure and they weren’t, as suggested in news articles, a gang in any real sense of the word. They were a very loose knit band of losers who needed someone else to get high with. Would any of them have committed the same crimes on their own? I doubt it, but that doesn’t absolve them. I feel bad that Craig’s life has been so abysmal, but choices have consequences, even at 16.

      In the future juveniles who are tried as adults will be treated differently because of Senate Bill 260 which makes changes in the parole process for them. It remains to be seen what will happen next. In my perfect world people would treat each other with understanding, compassion and respect, but this world is far from perfect. We just have to do the best we can.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, and I appreciate your readership.

      Best — Joan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *