|For Immediate Release
April 9, 2013
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
PAROLE DENIED FOR MAN CONVICTED OF 1985 BLUDGEONING-MURDER OF MAN HE LURED UNDER GUISE OF SEXUAL ENCOUNTER
SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, denied the parole for an inmate who was convicted of bludgeoning and murdering a man he lured into a Laguna Hills trail under the guise of a sexual encounter. Charles Burke, 48, is currently being held at the California State Prison, Solano in Vacaville, CA. Burke was sentenced Feb. 5, 1988, to 25 years to life in state prison, after he was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder and one felony count of attempted robbery. This case was originally prosecuted by former Deputy District Attorney Edward Munoz.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche attended the hearing April 5, 2013, to oppose Burke’s parole. Burke will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2016.
Murder of Gregory McGowan
On the night of Aug. 11, 1985, 20-year-old Burke and a friend were in a restaurant and consuming alcohol. The victim, Gregory McGowan, approached Burke for a ride home in exchange for some beers. Burke agreed to leave with the victim and lured him down a dark path with the intention of robbing and assaulting the victim for “making eyes at him.” Burke stopped to urinate and, when he turned around, he saw that the victim had dropped his pants and underwear. Burke became angry and hit the victim with a nearby rock. When McGowan fought back, Burke repeatedly bludgeoned the victim on the head with a heavy rock, leaving McGowan unrecognizable when he was found in a Laguna Hills field by the police. McGowan had to be identified through fingerprints.
Burke murdered the victim by beating him and fled the scene. He later confided in his girlfriend what he had done, and she eventually turned him in to police. When interviewed, Burke told police officers that he killed McGowan because he was “gay.”
Threat to Public Safety and Need for Further Insight
In a letter of opposition to the Board, the People state, “The inmate has an unstable social history which includes a substance abuse dating back to the age of 18. The inmate admits to using alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine. The inmate’s substance abuse was a causative factor in his discharge from the Unites States Marine Corps. The inmate claims he was under the influence of alcohol and LSD at the time of the life offense. Even in the controlled and structured environment provided by CDCR, the inmate has continued his substance abuse while incarcerated.”
While incarcerated, Burke violated prison rules in 1992 by manufacturing Pruno, a homemade alcohol made from fermented fruit.