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Brown blocks parole for killer of CV student in 1991

November 08, 2011

Gov. Jerry Brown has revoked a decision to grant parole to a man who in 1991 shot and killed a 17-year-old Crescenta Valley High School student on prom night, essentially upholding the same decision made by his predecessor.

The O.C. Register is reporting that Brown overturned the decision of a state board last year to grant parole to 39-year-old Paul Crowder -- who is serving 15 years to life, plus four years for killing Berlyn Cosman -- after determining that the inmate "does not genuinely understand or accept responsibility for his actions... (and) currently poses a danger to society if released."

While the issue was being settled, a second state parole board decision this year also sided with Crowder after Berlyn’s father, Mark Cosman, wrote in favor of his release. That letter angered other family members who said Berlyn's father did not speak for the family.

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They have since been waging a letter-writing campaign to urge Brown to also overturn the second state parole board's decision.

"It's a difficult situation, but I still feel like I have to fight for Berlyn," sister Morgan Cosman said in an interview Tuesday.

Prosecutors had argued against Crowder’s release at his parole hearing, saying he hasn’t taken responsibility for killing Berlyn. The Orange County district attorney’s office claimed that Crowder took just one anger management class in prison.

Crowder argued in court that his gun accidentally fired after a prom night party at the Sterling Crown Suites Hotel in Anaheim.

With Brown already rejecting the first parole board decision, Morgan Cosman said the family was hopeful he would maintain his position.

"The governor is definitely on our side," she said.

Brown's office would likely review the second decision in the coming months, said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor.

RELATED:

Family split over father's support of killer

Man convicting of killing CV student on prom night granted parole

-- Jason Wells and Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

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