District Attorney Tim Ward Statement on Governor’s Death Penalty Moratorium

Today Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order declaring that no death row inmate’s sentence will be carried out as long as he is in office. He spoke about the death penalty being “inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.”

As a Californian, the District Attorney of Tulare County, and a prosecutor who has spent countless hours with families torn apart by violent criminals, I find this order deeply offensive to the memories of murdered loved ones and the justice they rightfully deserve.

The death penalty is a sentence requested in only the most egregious murders. Voters believe this, and have consistently shown their support at the polls. What message does this order send to families who lost a cherished family member, friend or neighbor to our state’s worst killers? What of their grief, their days, months, and years in the courtroom waiting for justice, only to now have that ultimate justice ripped from them just as a killer ripped their lives apart?

We were not notified of this decision prior to reading it in the news. If we had been, we would have worked tirelessly to reach every victim’s family member to tell them of this news before they could learn about it in a similar fashion. It is abundantly clear that victims and the will of California voters are not a priority for Governor Newsom.

Fourteen men from Tulare County currently sit on death row:

Christopher Tobin and Richard Letner
Convicted and sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1988 home invasion robbery, attempted rape, beating and eventual stabbing murder of a 59-year-old victim.

Jose Luperso Casares
Convicted and sentenced to death in 1992 for the murder of a 28-year-old victim who was shot in the head during a drug rip-off in 1989.

John Michael Beames
Convicted and sentenced to death in 1995 for the 1994 torture and murder of his girlfriend’s 15-month-old daughter.

Steven Allen Brown
Convicted and sentenced to death in 1996 for the 1988 home invasion rape, sodomy, and drowning murder of an 11-year-old girl after breaking in to her home.

George Lopez Contreras
Convicted and sentenced to death in 1996 for the 1994 murder of a 49-year-old Farmersville store owner who Contreras shot in the back during a robbery.

Juan Ramon Sanchez
Convicted and sentenced to death in 2000 for the 1997 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl as well as the murder of her mother.

Todd Givens
Convicted and sentenced to death in 2004 for the murders of two victims, a 30-year-old and 32-year-old. Givens shot and stabbed, and eventually burned the victims after luring them to his residence in 2001.

Timothy Young and Donald Young
Convicted and sentenced to death in 2006 for the 1996 murders of five victims at a Tulare bar, Pato’s Place. All of the victims were killed by point blank shotgun blasts to the head after they had been robbed of approximately $300.

Rufugio (Ruben) Cardenas
Convicted and sentenced to death in 2007 for the 2003 gang shotgun murder of a 19-year-old man.

Samuel Rivera
Convicted and sentenced to death in 2008 for the 2004 gang murder of a 23-year-old man.

Christopher Cheary
Convicted in 2017 and sentenced to death in 2018 for the 2011 sexual assault, beating, and torture murder of his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter.

Eric Jimenez
Convicted in 2018 and sentenced to death in 2019 for committing two separate homicides that occurred in 2012 and 2013 in which one victim was strangled and his body burned. Jimenez ordered the second victim’s murder while in custody.

Media inquiries can be directed to the Office of the District Attorney, County of Tulare Assistant District Attorney Dave Alavezos (559) 636-5494

10 thoughts on “District Attorney Tim Ward Statement on Governor’s Death Penalty Moratorium

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  1. I agree with Tim Ward But at the same time, death row in Calif. in Calif is a joke When was the last death sentence actually carried out ? What good is it when the automatic appeal process stalls everything and death row inmates get the best of everything Texas a death sentence means thru the express lane

    • I stand with Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward. Special thanks to Tim and all our men and women in blue who risk their lives every day to get and keep murderers off our streets.

  2. … says the guy who is never short of excuses and justifications for murderous cops…

  3. If Tim Ward and his band of bloodthirsty ghouls were so hot on the death penalty, then why did they let a bona fide serial killer off with life without parole?

  4. I think Govener Newsom is acting recklessly. Although death row inmates are never executed in CA, last being in 2006. Of the 13 death row inmates listed, they’ve sat on death row for 20+ years. They are all heanous crimes and sure receive their punishment as the courts ordered. These families are suffering the loss of their loved ones, while the criminal lives on. Ridiculous!

  5. Governor newsome is thinking of himself and planning towards a second term he is banking on getting votes from the families of the inmates on death row

  6. At a time when every vote and every voter matters what the Governor is doing is just plain wrong. The voters of California voted for the death penalty. Right or wrong, good, bad or indifferent…..this was voted on. If it is to be changed then put it back on the ballot and let the people decide if it is to be changed. Presidents and Governors are not dictators and should not be dictating to the voters. We are supposed to be living in a democracy.

  7. I’m glad at least our DA has some sense. These Liberal Sicislist politicians are going to run our state and country in the ground.

  8. If you have been tried and convicted and sentenced to death, and used your appeal and lose Then The sentence should be carried out A.S.A.P. It’s as simple as that. !!!

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