Date: May 20, 2015
OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF INMATE WHO MURDERED FRIEND AFTER ARGUING WITH HIM AT FULLERTON BAR IN 1985
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) is opposing the parole of an inmate who shot and murdered a friend after getting into an argument with him at a Fullerton bar in 1985. Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy, 51, is currently being held at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione. Norsworthy was found guilty by a jury of second degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm on Dec. 15, 1986, and was sentenced on March 3, 1987, to 17 years to life in state prison. The inmate is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, May 21, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings (Panel), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This case was originally prosecuted by former Deputy District Attorney Mel Jensen.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ray Armstrong of the Special Prosecutions Unit is attending the hearing to oppose Norsworthy’s parole.
Murder of Franklin Liefer Jr.
On the evening of Dec. 4, 1985, Norsworthy, then 21 years old, went to a bar in Fullerton. At some point during that evening, Norsworthy’s friend, 26-year-old Franklin Gordon Liefer Jr., also entered the bar. During the course of the evening, Norsworthy got into a verbal argument with Leifer inside the bar. Norsworthy then exited the bar to retrieve a .22 caliber MK1 semi-automatic rifle from his vehicle. The victim had followed Norsworthy out to his vehicle and saw that the inmate had grabbed the rifle. Norsworthy fired the weapon three times. One of the bullets went through the victim’s genitals and transected his femoral artery. Another bullet hit the victim’s neck, piercing his carotid artery, and rendering him a quadriplegic. Liefer died six weeks later of complications from the gunshot wound. Norsworthy initially claimed that his weapon accidentally discharged twice, and that he had not intended to kill Liefer.
Unreasonable Risk of Danger to Public Safety
Norsworthy has not taken responsibility for the crime, and since the inmate’s incarceration, Norsworthy has accumulated more than 16 prison rules violations including violations for fighting, threatening prison staff and other inmates, and possessing dangerous contraband.
While the inmate has not had any new rules violations since 2009, the inmate’s history of violations demonstrates a pattern of misconduct in a controlled environment, which shows the inmate poses an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety. The inmate has not been able follow the rules in a structured prison setting, and so it follows that Norsworthy cannot be counted on to refrain from criminal misconduct if released on parole.
Norsworthy’s pattern of misconduct while in prison and lack of insight into his actions demonstrates that he still poses an unreasonable risk of danger to society and, therefore, should not be released.