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Chelsea had applied to 11 colleges and aspired to a career that would combine her interests in writing and the environment. Although her aspirations were cut short, her parents say her light still shines strong.
Convinced any money they received would only remind them of the "pain and tragedy" of the loss of their daughter, Brent and Kelly King say they will not pursue any legal action against the state of California.
"In reality any money, if we received any, would always remind us of pain and tragedy," said Brent King. "And that's what we're trying to get away from."
The claim was seeking more than $25,000. It claimed Brent King’s daughter would be alive had parole agents done a better job tracking John Gardner, who has since pleaded guilty to Chelsea's murder and rape.
Brent King said four questions were considered in the decision. What change would it bring? How would it fix the parole system? How many children would it benefit? Would that financial benefit help our family and foundation?
Brent King said the answer is “no” to each of those questions.
"It would skew the balance of energy toward darkness and away from positive energy," said Brent King.
He also called it a “no win” proposition.
"Either way we lose. The money would remind us of pain and tragedy. To me, it would be ill gotten,” Brent said. “What do you do with money that came from the loss of your daughter?"
The Kings also made it clear that their decision does not lessen their resolve to reform the system. They have requested a personal meeting with Governor Jerry Brown and the Corrections Department secretary.
"New laws are pointless if existing laws are not enforced. He says he will continue to examine how the state deals with violent sexual predators, including risk assessment tools and GPS monitoring and tracking,” Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher said.
Gardner also pleaded guilty to murdering Escondido teen Amber Dubois. The state formally rejected that claim in August 2010.
Chelsea disappeared on Feb 25. She was a member of the Poway High School cross-country team and was last seen alive when she went for a run after school around Lake Hodges. After an extensive search, her body was found in a shallow grave near a tributary about 15 feet from the lake's southern shore.
Gardner is serving a life sentence for both murders without the possibility of parole.
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