|For Immediate Release
July 25, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
PAROLE DENIED FOR INMATE WHO SHOT BAR OWNER
AND MURDERED HER FIANCÉ IN 1977
*Inmate had been spared of death sentence by Supreme Court of California
SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, denied the parole yesterday, July 24, 2012, for three years for an inmate who murdered a man and severely injured the victim’s fiancé in 1977 in their La Habra home. Maurice Thompson, 67, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count each of murder and attempted murder and sentenced to receive the death penalty in 1978. The death penalty sentence was reduced on appeal by the Supreme Court of California on Nov. 6, 1980 and the inmate received seven years to life in state prison with the possibility of parole. If convicted today with all of the available charges, based on the facts, the inmate would have received a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. This case was originally prosecuted by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. Thompson is currently being held at Centinela State Prison, Imperial.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price appeared via video conference yesterday on behalf of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) to oppose parole. The Board denied Thompson’s parole based on the inmate’s failure to take advantage of the programming available while incarcerated, including self-help programs. The Board also found that by denying his involvement in the crime, the inmate did not understand the gravity of the situation and the consequences that his actions have had on others. Thompson will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2015.
In 1982, in part because of the injustices of cases such as this, District Attorney Rackauckas took an unpaid leave of absence from the OCDA to lead a statewide campaign to remove three rogue California Supreme Court Justices in order to uphold the death penalty, enforce the law as written, and restore integrity to the state judiciary.
Murder of Michael Whalen and Attempted Murder of Jane Doe
At approximately 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 14, 1977, then-33-year-old Thompson entered a La Mirada bar owned by Jane Doe. Thompson had been to the bar before and Jane Doe recognized him, however this was the first occasion the two had spoken.
Later that evening, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Thompson knocked on the door of Jane Doe’s La Habra home. When Jane Doe’s fiancé Michael Whalen opened the door, Thompson pointed a gun at him and forced him toward the bathroom, where Jane Doe was taking a bath. After Jane Doe opened the bathroom door, Thompson demanded money from the couple.