Tag Archive for: Lifer Hearing Unit

Serial Rapist Who Terrorized Pacific Beach is up for Early Parole

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that convicted rapist, Kenneth Bogard, 66, is up for parole after serving only 30 years of a 96-year prison sentence, due to elderly parole, which is available to inmates over the age of 50 who have served at least 20 years of their sentence.

Bogard was convicted by a jury in 1995 of 37 felonies, including multiple counts of residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, sexual battery, forcible oral copulation, rape by foreign object, assault with intent to commit rape, and rape. He was sentenced to 96 years in prison. His first parole hearing was in 2019. At that time, the Parole Board denied his request and set his next hearing for five years later, which is May 22.

“The Elder Parole law that allows for early release of murderers and rapists is cruel to crime victims and is rigged to only benefit violent criminals,” DA Stephan said. “This newer law forces victims and their families to revisit the trauma they have already suffered and causes additional despair. It doesn’t matter what kind of vicious acts for which the inmate was convicted. The law gives an opportunity for felons who were sentenced to life in prison to be prematurely released into our community. Our Lifer Unit will never abandon victims and we will continue to stand by them in these early parole hearings, vowing to fight releases when warranted, as we are in this serial rape case.”

The parole hearing will be held remotely via Microsoft Teams on Wednesday, May 22 at 8:30 a.m. at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, Calif. (UPDATE: The parole hearing was rescheduled for October 10, 2024 at 8:30 am.)

Effective January 2021, inmates who are both age 50 and have served at least 20 years in prison are now eligible for an elderly parole hearing. Inmates who are 60 and have served at least 25 years are also eligible for an elderly parole hearing, no matter the crime.

Between August 1992 and October 1993, Bogard brutally attacked seven women inside their homes in the Pacific Beach community. He stalked his victims prior to the attacks, sometimes watching them for weeks. He disguised his identity with a ski mask, carried a knife to force the victims into submission, and viciously forced them to perform sex acts. Bogard stalked the women to ensure they were home alone, then he creeped into their homes without detection before attacking. After the cruel sexual attacks, Bogard often tucked the victim into bed saying “Goodnight” or reminding the victim to lock her doors and windows.

If Bogard is denied parole, the Board of Parole Hearings will not set a new parole hearing for at least three years. If he is granted parole, he will not be released immediately. The Governor reviews all grants of parole and can send the case back for additional review by the Board of Parole Hearings if he so chooses.

DA Weekly News Update with DA Summer Stephan 03-21-24

In this week’s DA news, District Attorney Summer Stephan talks about a unit in our office that ensures that dangerous prisoners with life sentences are not released carelessly or improvidently.

‘Del Mar Rapist’ Denied Parole

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said today that a defendant who admitted breaking into Del Mar homes and sexually assaulting women in the mid-1990s lost his bid for parole at an emotional hearing held this morning. After the hearing to weigh his suitability for release, parole officials denied 49-year-old Robert Dean Rustad’s request, and said he should not be up for consideration again for another three years.

“Two of this rapist’s victims were at the hearing today and justice was served because the panel sees this inmate is still not being truthful about his true motivation for these crimes,” DA Stephan said. “Our DA Lifer Unit handles these hearings, led by Deputy DA John Cross. The Unit does an excellent job of representing victims and working to protect the safety of our communities when violent criminals are being considered for release.”

Rustad, also known as the Del Mar Rapist, brutally raped seven women from 1992 through 1996 before he was finally caught. Most were threatened at knifepoint and tied up. One was badly beaten. He was between the ages of 19 and 22 when he committed the crimes. Rustad pleaded guilty to 36 criminal counts, including rape. He was sentenced in 1997 to a 326 years-to-life prison term but came up for parole early through the state’s Youth parole law, which considers a person’s age at the time of their offense. His last parole hearing was in 2020 when he was denied release for five years, however he came up early for this latest parole hearing by filing a Petition to Advance his hearing that was granted.

Rustad has claimed his actions were driven by a desire for a girlfriend-type relationship. “His motivation was clearly sadistic and his inability to accept that continues to make him a serious threat to society,” said DA Stephan.

The DA’s Lifer Hearing Unit has two main goals: to ensure that dangerous prisoners with life sentences are not released carelessly or improvidently, and to ensure that crime victims and their families are given an opportunity to participate in the parole hearing process and have their voices heard.

When a defendant is given a life sentence, the Lifer Hearing Unit processes the case to ensure that it is ready for future parole suitability hearings. This involves preserving victims’ statements and documenting the gravity of the crimes to ensure the offenders serve sentences proportional to their crimes.

Last year, there were 664 lifer parole hearings scheduled in San Diego County. Of those, 96 inmates received parole grants from the California Board of Parole Hearings. The remainder of the hearings –568– resulted in denials, postponements, or stipulations to a denial of parole.

In addition, the Lifer Hearing Unit tracks court activity on lifer cases and assists the Attorney General’s Office in opposing writs of habeas corpus seeking release. The Lifer Hearing Unit also submits amicus briefs on behalf of the California District Attorneys Association on important cases. The Lifer Hearing Unit is the state-wide leader in lifer matters and San Diego County serves as the training office for other prosecutors who seek to understand the complex laws governing parole hearings.

DA Weekly News Update with DA Summer Stephan 08-10-23

In this week’s DA Weekly News Update, District Attorney Summer Stephan talks about how a rapist was denied parole thanks to the work of the DA’s Lifer Hearing Unit. Watch more in the video.

Rapist Eligible for Elder Parole is Denied Release

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that convicted rapist Randal Gers, 60, has been denied parole by the Board of Parole Hearings. In 1995, Gers kidnapped two different women on two separate occasions. He held them both for hours, bound them, and repeatedly raped, sodomized, and sexually assaulted them. The inmate used a knife to gain control of the women, tied a rope or belt around their neck to control them, and even left one victim tied to a tree in a remote area overnight before returning to sexually assault her again. This defendant had a prior conviction for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old and bashing her over the head.

The defendant received a 567 years-to-life sentence for his crimes, which was the longest sentence ever handed down in San Diego County at the time. His eligible parole date was originally November 2378, however the California Legislature changed the law in 2021 to lower the age of qualification for the Elderly Parole Program to inmates 50 years old or older who have served at least 20 years of continuous incarceration. But for the change in the law, Gers would have never received a parole hearing.

The District Attorney’s Office Lifer Unit, led by Deputy District Attorney John Cross, worked diligently to oppose the release of this dangerous inmate, and located the two kidnap and rape victims to alert them to the parole hearing, as well as the change in the law that made parole a possibility for their rapist. The two courageous victims appeared in front of the Parole Board on Tuesday, giving powerful impact statements and the District Attorney’s Office vigorously argued against the inmate’s release. Ultimately, the Board denied Gers parole for five years.

“These were extremely brutal and horrific crimes deserving of the life in prison sentence the defendant received,” said DA Stephan. “It is hard to believe that a sexual predator with multiple victims is eligible for release under this new law, causing additional trauma to victims who had to overcome the damage of the violent crimes they endured and thought their tormenter had received a final justice and sentence. Instead, these and many more victims are being pulled back into the criminal justice system time and time again. Our prosecutors will never abandon our victims and we will stand with them at these parole hearings. We won this battle, but in five years, we will have to fight alongside them again. And we will.”

“The denial of parole is an excellent example of the work the DA’s Lifer Hearing Unit does to represent the voice of the crime victims. We’re increasingly seeing inmates being released under the Elderly Parole Program and when the facts and the law support us as in this case, we fight against these unsafe and unjust releases,” Stephan said.

In arguing against parole, Deputy District Attorney John Cross detailed Gers’ disturbing and violent crimes. He also told the Board that Gers had no understanding why he committed the brutal rapes and showed no remorse. The inmate has not completed any self-help programming while in prison and offered excuses as to why he had not.

The DA’s Lifer Hearing Unit was formed in 1995 to ensure that victims of violent crime are given a chance to be heard at these proceedings, and to help prevent inappropriate grants of parole. Since the passage of the elder parole law and many other laws that allow early release of violent offenders, the Unit’s workload has dramatically increased. The Unit prepares for about 50 parole hearings each month, approximately 600 a year, and handles about 300 full hearings.