New Gardner Report Turns up Heat on Parole Board

By Paul Krueger
|  Thursday, Apr 8, 2010  |  Updated 8:45 PM PDT
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Images: The Chelsea King Case

Gene Cubbison reports

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New Gardner Report Turns Heat up on Parole Board

The state parole board is being criticized anew about its supervision of the man accused of killing a Poway teenager.
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The state parole board is being criticized anew about its supervision of  the man accused of killing a Poway teenager.

John Gardner had completed parole when he allegedly killed Poway teenager Chelsea King last month near Lake Hodges. Now, a new report says that parole agents should have tried to revoke his parole in 2006 when they found  out that he was living too close to an elementary school. That violation, combined with a psychiatric report that called Gardner a very dangerous sex predator, could have put him back in custody, according to one expert.

"If that psychiatric report was deemed to be accurate -- and his problems deemed to be accurately diagnosed -- I think there is a significant probability that he would have been deemed to be a sexually violent predator," said attorney and legal analyst Gerald Blank.

Parole agents missed other opportunities to revoke Gardner's parole -- including an incident two years ago when he was caught with a small amount of marijuana -- according to the report.

"Our county probation department does a better job of actively supervising people who are released on probation for sex crimes than the state parole agency," Blank said.

While the report does not blame the state parole system for Gardner's alleged crimes, it does suggest possible changes to the parole system, including guidelines for prohibiting Internet access to sex offenders, closer supervision of sex offenders by local law enforcement and prison treatment programs for sex offenders.

"If somebody is committed to prison, someday they're going to get out," Blank said. "They better be treated before they're released, not after they are released."

The report was assembled at the request of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was prepared by a state prosecutor and the director of state parole operations.
   
Gardner, who has pleaded not guilty in the Chelsea King case, has a preliminary hearing scheduled for August.

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