A deputies union urged Gov. Jerry Brown not to commute the sentence of a man convicted in the robbery and murder of Deputy Shayne York, who was working at Pitchess Detention Center when he was killed in 1997.
“The Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown urging him not to commute the prison sentence of Andre Willis for his role in the execution style murder of Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Shayne York,” according to a letter co-signed by Sheriff Jim McDonnell. “As detailed in the letter below, ALADS strongly feels that a commutation would deprecate the serious nature of his participation in the cold-blooded murder of Deputy York and promote a lack of respect for the law.”
York had been a deputy for two years when he and his wife, Jennifer Parish, who’s also a fellow deputy, were victims of an armed robbery.
York’s life is honored with a stretch of Interstate 5 named after him between Newhall Ranch Road and Hasley Canyon Road.
Wills’ accomplice, Kevin Boyce, was sentenced to death for his role in the murder. Willis was sentenced to 160 years. (Information about the murder is available here at the Officer Down Memorial Page.)
A representative from Gov. Jerry Brown’s media office issued the following response when asked Tuesday about the situation: “We have not granted any clemency in this case,” according to a statement from Gareth Lacy. “A request for clemency is a serious matter and every applicant is carefully and diligently vetted. Will be sure to keep you apprised if there are ever any updates in the future on our end.”
Testimony from their trial indicated Boyce was rifling through the couple’s possession when they learned both were deputies. Boyce then indicated his intent to kill a police officer, which was a factor in his death sentence, according to a later Supreme Court ruling in a 2014 Metropolitan News report on the appeal.
Willis, now 52, is scheduled to be eligible for parole in July 2025, according to the California Department of Corrections. “The inmate is eligible for a parole suitability hearing under the Elderly Parole Program once he or she is age 60 or older and has been incarcerated for 25 years,” according to the CDCR website.
The letter from the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs ends with a plea to Brown to consider Willis’ continued lack of remorse throughout the trial and a call for the sending of a message to those who might commit similar crimes.
“Willis has not paid a fraction of the debt he owes society,” the letter reads, “Please reject his commutation request and send the clear message that vicious behavior will not be rewarded, and those guilty of such behavior should expect to serve the full sentence imposed upon them after conviction.”
Victims who would like to request notice and an opportunity to attend this inmate’s parole suitability hearing or who would like to request notice of this inmate’s release must register with CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services. For further information, or to inquire about court ordered restitution, please visit CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services website or call toll-free 1-877-256-6877