Sara Kruzan’s life has been a tragic tale, until now as she is about to be released from prison. California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that states parole boards must allow concessions to be made for juveniles who are tried as adults.
Sara Kruzan grew up with alleged abuse and unspeakable brutalities inflicted on her, and became a prostitute by the time she was a teenager. On March 9, 1994, she murdered a pimp (George Gilbert Howard) in a California motel located in Riverside County. Rumors surfaced that the man she killed was believed to be responsible for her path into prostitution.
Kruzan was arrested, convicted of murder, and placed in prison. Being a juvenile at the time of her sentencing and considering the severity of the sentence, which was life without parole, many felt her charges were too drastic for someone of her age. Others considered Sara to be a victim of child sex-trafficking and not a prostitute. Many became vocal about wanting an overhaul of the judicial system.
Should the judicial process have a more lenient outcome for juveniles who experience unnecessary childhood traumas? Or should the system consider a perpetrator’s age as heavily as the crime itself? Dr. Phil previously had a show centered on the abuse Sara Kruzan was subjected to while just an adolescent.
Reports claim that Sara had been raised to work as a prostitute for George Howard as young as thirteen or maybe even eleven, the age when he sexually molested and then raped her. Sara is thought to have suffered from Battered Persons Syndrome as a result of the relationship dynamics between George and herself.
While the story has been largely sad thus far, Sara will be released, in part, because a judge in Riverside changed her charge to second-degree manslaughter, which carries a 15-plus-4-years sentence. She has already served this time. It should also be noted that Arnold Schwarzenegger (when he was Governor Schwarzenegger) had lessened Sara’s sentence to 25 years, which included the possibility for parole.
According to a January 2011 report from the Los Angeles Times: “Sara Kruzan had been abused physically and sexually for most of her young life before she was gang raped, then pushed into a life of prostitution at age 13 by the neighborhood pimp. When she was 16, she robbed and killed the man, a crime for which she was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Sixteen years later, Kruzan has earned an associate’s degree through the local community college, has participated in many of the prison’s rehabilitation programs and has shown a level of growth and maturity that makes her a promising candidate for rejoining society. (Former Gov. Arnold) Schwarzenegger’s decision to reduce her sentence to 25 years to life with the possibility of parole gives her a chance to do just that.”
Supporters of Sara Kruzan who have helped fight for her freedom (and even sponsored a campaign) will be happy to hear that someone who has been through such trauma may finally receive some peace.
Senator Leland Yee from San Francisco said, “It is justice long overdue.”