SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom pardoned a woman who was convicted of murdering the man who sexually trafficked her as a teenager.
Sara Kruzan was 16 when she shot and killed George Gilbert Howard in a California hotel room in 1994. Kruzan said that Howard had abused her and trafficked her for sex, beginning when she was 13 years old, The Associated Press reported.
In 1995, Kruzan was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, which was commuted to 25 years to life with a four-year firearm enhancement in 2010 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2013, under Gov. Jerry Brown, Kruzan was released after she was again resentenced, this time to 15 years to life plus a four-year firearm enhancement.
In the signed pardon, Newsom said, “Ms. Kruzan committed a crime that took the life of the victim. Since then, Ms. Kruzan has transformed her life and dedicated herself to community service. This act of clemency for Ms. Kruzan does not minimize or forgive her conduct or the harm it caused. It does recognize the work she has done since to transform herself.”
Kruzan told the Los Angeles Times that she was relieved when she heard the governor had agreed to her petition for a pardon, saying the decision released “these invisible chains that I didn’t realize were still taloned in (me).”
Kruzan has worked as an advocate for changing the way children are dealt with in the criminal justice system, and for reforming laws that ignore trafficking and abuse during sentencing, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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