|For Immediate Release October 19, 2011||Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
INMATE WHO MURDERED 17-YEAR-OLD STUDENT AS SHE SLEPT ON PROM NIGHT IN 1991 FOUND SUITABLE FOR PAROLE OVER OBJECTION OF OCDA
SANTA ANA – Despite opposition by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA), The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, determined today that an inmate convicted of the 1991 murder of a 17-year-old high school student on prom night while she was sleeping in her hotel room is suitable for parole. Paul Crowder, 39, is currently being held at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, CA. Crowder was sentenced Nov. 1, 1991, to 15 years to life in state prison and an additional four years for the personal use of a firearm.
Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos attended the hearing to oppose Crowder’s parole and argued that Crowder still fails to take responsibility for the crime by claiming the gun was accidently discharged, and has made no rehabilitation effort by only taking one anger management course in 20 years of imprisonment. The inmate’s parole suitability will now go before California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. The Governor has the authority to accept or reverse the Board’s decision to grant Crowder parole. In 2010, the Board granted Crowder parole. On Nov. 12, 2010, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger invoked his authority to reverse the Board’s decision to grant Crowder parole for various reasons including lack of insight and responsibility of the murder. On March 31, 2011, the Anaheim Police Department sent a letter to the Board in opposition of Crowder’s parole.
Murder of Berlyn Cosman
On June 1, 1991, Crowder, then 19 years old, attended a prom-night party at the Sterling Crown Suites Hotel in Anaheim, where a group of students had booked three suites. Crowder was not a student but had come with Kenneth Schaffer, the boyfriend of the victim. The victim, 17-year-old Berlyn Cosman, was an excellent student and had an athletic scholarship for college basketball. Crowder arrived at the party with beer and two firearms. He quickly became intoxicated and took out one firearm, waving it around and pointing it at various people. He threatened anyone who tried to stop him and threatened to shoot one of the partygoers in the buttocks.
Later in the evening, when he could not find someone to give him a ride home, Crowder approached Cosman and her boyfriend Schaffer, who were preparing to go to sleep in an adjacent hotel room. When Cosman refused to let Crowder sleep in the room, Crowder argued with her and then left the room cursing. Early in the morning, Crowder entered Cosman’s room, took out his firearm, waved it around laughing, and shot Cosman as she slept. Crowder fled the scene and hid the firearm in some bushes outside. He then went home to take a nap. He was arrested June 1, 1991, after an investigation by the Anaheim Police Department.
On Sept. 26, 1991, a jury convicted Crowder of second degree murder and the personal use of a firearm. He was sentenced Nov. 1, 1991, to 15 years to life in state prison and an additional four years for the personal use of a firearm.