State Board of Two Rejected Parole for Octavio Zetina

On Wednesday, a two-person panel for the Board of Parole Hearings found that inmate Octavio Garcia Zetina, 43, is unsuitable for parole. Zetina is in prison on a life sentence for killing his brother-in-law on Valentine's Day in 1993 during a birthday party for the victim's 1-year-old son.

In May 1995, a jury found Zetina guilty of second degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the use of a firearm and is serving 20 years to life in Ironwood State Prison in Blythe. It was witness testimony that helped Zetina get the guilty verdict, as they recounted how Zetina gunned down Jose Alvarenga when he was already on parole for domestic violence. Zetina had learned that Alvarenga had pushed his wife, Zetina's sister, out of the way during an argument between Alvarenga and his daughters.

Witnesses told the court that at the Valentine's Day/birthday party, Zetina told Alvarenga: "I told you not to hit my sister. I'm going to kill you." While Zetina's protectiveness over his sister is admirable, killing her husband was probably an overreaction, especially when reports say that he shot Alvarenga five times, and once at point-blank range.

The panel rejected Zetina's parole application because of "his violent history, the circumstances of the slaying, his lack of insight into his criminality and because of recent rules violations in prison", among other reasons, according to the Orange County Register.

Clearly the prison system is not working, if Zetina has not found some "insight into his criminality" and is still violating rules in prison. Prisons are filling up at an alarming rate as our education system is choked by lack of funding. Are the two linked? What do you think? Do you think that our education system is failing due to budget cuts and therfore creating more crime? Do you think that our prisons are doing enough to rehabilitate inmates? Or do you think that no criminal has the potential to reform?

Please post your comments below. We are very interested in what you have to say about this topic.

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