LOS ANGELES - A gang member and double murderer convicted in the shooting and killing of two teenagers at a party in Los Angeles more than thirty years ago is set to be released from San Quentin on Monday.
Howard Elwin Jones has been imprisoned at San Quentin state prison since 1991 for the December 1988 shooting and killing of 18-year-old Chris Baker and another boy at a party in Rowland Heights.
Jones was denied parole in 2015 and 2017 but at his third parole hearing in February, he was found to be suitable for parole by the state at a hearing that prosecutors weren’t allowed to attend as part of new District Attorney George Gascón's reforms.
The granting of parole then went through a 120 day review period, which included Governor Gavin Newsom’s review, according to FOX News' Bill Melugin.
Dianne Baker-Taylor, the sister of one of Jones’ victims, said the family wrote to Governor Newsom, but never heard back. She received a letter notifying her of Jones' scheduled release on Wednesday morning from the California Dept. of Corrections.
Baker’s family told FOX 11 that Jones, an active gang member at the time who was just hours away from his 18th birthday, showed up to the party armed with a gun, and confronted a boy who was wearing a red Santa hat, which he had interpreted as a symbol of the bloods gang.
"The boy said, please don’t shoot me, and started to walk away," Baker’s sister told FOX 11 back in February. "And that’s when Mr. Jones fired at him, and the rowed dispersed and as they dispersed, my brother, in the chaos, ended up running alongside [the boy], and they both died as a result of their injuries."
Jones was initially sentenced to 45 years to life for the two murders, but after Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 260 into law in 2013, he became eligible for parole much sooner, according to Baker-Taylor.
"I’m extremely frustrated and angry," Baker-Taylor said. "How do you put a price on human life? Let alone two human lives! This guy can go free after killing to people and have a life and he still gets to talk to his family? No, I’m not cool with that at all."
In response, Gascón's office told FOX 11 back in February that the prosecutor’s involvement in a case ends at sentencing, and that San Quentin has the best rehabilitative programs in the state.
"In any case where any individual committed a crime as a 17-year-old, the Parole Board will take into consideration the fact that a teenager’s behavioral and cognitive abilities were not fully developed when he committed the crime," said Alex Bastian, a special advisor to George Gascón. "After more than three decades in prison, it is likely that the Parole Board has determined that this individual is not the same person as when he was 17."
FOX News' Bill Melugin contributed to this report.