|For Immediate Release October 18, 2011||Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF MAN WHO MURDERED 17-YEAR-OLD STUDENT AS SHE SLEPT ON PROM NIGHT IN 1991
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of a man who shot a 17-year-old high school student on prom night while she was sleeping in her hotel room in 1991. 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. He was originally scheduled for a parole hearing May 25, 2011, but due to an objection to a psychological report by Crowder’s defense lawyer, the hearing was postponed to tomorrow, Oct. 19, 2011, at 8:30 a.m., at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos will attend the hearing to defend public safety and advocate for justice. 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.