Community Board: Marlow case underscores flaws in bill

San Benito County Jail

Due to a new state law that is far too broad in nature, one of Hollister’s most notorious criminals has a chance for freedom in April.
That state law, AB260, grants parole eligibility to adults sentenced for violent crimes they committed as juveniles. A Hollister murderer and rapist convicted in the early 1990s of three vile acts, Gustavo Marlow, is affected by the law. He was convicted for two separate murders at age 17 and a rape/assault three years later. Since his sentence is over on the rape conviction, he is eligible for parole on the homicide cases.
Marlow is an example of living evil who should never see the light of day or sniff any chance of it. He underscores why this law is critically flawed and could lead to the release of murderers and rapists throughout the state.
Previously unfathomable before the law change, Marlow on April 7 will go before a Jamestown prison board in a hearing to determine whether to grant him parole for the 1988 killings of 21-year-old Martha Delarosa and 16-year-old Lisa Koehler. Marlow was captured after a period of 18 months in the Hollister area involving an ongoing series of stalking, assault and rape incidents that authorities later linked to Marlow as a suspect. After his arrest for the two homicides and a long case duration, due to the district attorney’s groundbreaking use at the time of DNA evidence, Marlow had been in the California Youth Authority system for three years when he escaped and then raped and assaulted a 32-year-old laundry worker on his way out.
Marlow was tried as an adult and deserved at the very least what he got, a prison sentence of 66 years to life that would take him into his mid-80s before any chance for parole. His case underscores why you can’t paint a broad brush over the criminal justice system when dealing with the most violent, deadly people in the state while proclaiming how they all deserve such an extraordinary stroke of compassion. They don’t, and Marlow illustrates why.
This law and Marlow’s parole hearing are unfair to a community that long ago experienced and healed from such an anxious, tragic period and shouldn’t have to relive it again. Most important, it’s unfair to victims’ families who now have to see the narrative replayed, who must rekindle those awful memories and watch as the person who caused their lifelong pain gets a chance at redemption.
The Community Insight Board is an independent panel of residents. Views are consensus opinions, but not necessarily unanimous. Members include Jae Eade, Cesar Flores, Frankie Gallagher, Gordon Machado, Jim West and Brenda Weatherly.

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