Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
PAROLE DENIED FOR INMATE CONVICTED OF ATTEMPTING TO MURDER ESTRANGED WIFE
SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, denied parole yesterday for an inmate convicted of attempting to murder his estranged wife while their son stood outside the bedroom door and listened. Jose Chavez, 50, is currently being held at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in Blythe, CA. Chavez was sentenced July 12, 1996, to life in state prison plus eight years after being found guilty by a jury May 24, 1995, of one felony count of attempted murder with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and the personal use of a firearm. This case was originally prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jaime Coulter.
Deputy District Attorney Nagy Morcos attended the hearing to oppose Chavez’s parole. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) maintained that Cruz is a threat to public safety because he lacks remorse and skills for self-sufficiency in the free community. Chavez will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2016. Before denying the inmate’s parole, the Board took into consideration the facts of the case, Chavez’s lack of remorse, and his lack of self-help and self-improvement.
Attempted Murder of Maria Chavez
Jose Chavez and his estranged wife, then-29-year-old Maria Chavez, had separated five months prior due to a history of domestic violence. Jose Chavez repeatedly falsely accused her of cheating on him. Sometime after that, Jose Chavez obtained a firearm from a friend.
At approximately 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 8, 1995, 34-year-old Jose Chavez drove to his estranged wife’s house and audio-recorded his plans to murder Maria Chavez as he was driving. He arrived armed with a firearm and entered Maria Chavez’s home, where she lived with their four children. The inmate and Maria Chavez began to argue inside a bedroom with the door closed while their 9-year-old son stood on the other side of the door. Jose Chavez shot the victim twice in the head before turning the firearm on himself and shooting himself once in the head. He survived the gunshot wound and walked out of the bedroom with a smile on his face. Their 9-year-old son ran into the bedroom, found his mother bleeding profusely from the head, and called 911 for help while his father tried to take the phone away from him. Maria Chavez was transported to a hospital and survived the gunshot wounds.
Lack of Remorse and Threat to Public Safety
In the OCDA parole opposition letter, the People state that the inmate has yet to demonstrate remorse or empathy for the victim, “When contemplating his behavior, he appeared more ashamed and embarrassed rather than penitent for his conduct.”
The inmate has failed to prepare for parole and lacks realistic long-term objectives for self-sufficiency in the community, with no concrete residential plans. Jose Chavez also lacks employment plans beyond believing he can “knock on doors looking for opportunities.” He has no marketable skills or structured pla