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Man convicted of 1980 Nipomo murder granted parole

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Posted at 5:35 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 00:08:26-04

The man convicted of murdering the owner of the Nipomo Swap Meet back in 1980 could soon be free.

On October 5, 1980, Edward Joseph Prokop murdered Robert T. Folkerts.

This past Friday, Prokop was granted parole.

"To find out that he was granted parole was just mind-blowing," said the Victim's Granddaughter, Katherin Pignatelli. "We don't have our grandfather here. My dad wasn't able to grow up with his father."

The victim's vehicle was found along Camino Caballo Road.

"With the victim shot multiple times inside that vehicle," said San Luis Obispo County District Attorney, Dan Dow. "The defendant was not anywhere around. In fact, the defendant left California."

Dow says Prokop was on the run for one year before being arrested for murder. He was sentenced to 27 years to life.

But this wasn't his first run in with the law. Before the murder, Dow says Prokop was still wanted by police in Arizona for an armed robbery that got him shot.

"The victim in our case, the owner of the swap meet in Nipomo did not know of that criminal history," Dow explained.

"He was a kind and generous person. He helped out whoever needed it. He let the guy stay there for free just for work," Pignatelli added.

Dow says Prokop, now confined to a prison cell, has asked for parole numerous times.

"We do find right now with the growing number, more people seem to be meeting the parole board's criteria in being released today than at prior times in California history," Dow said.

Dow says it comes down to their performance in prison and things like age, signs of remorse, and, understanding and plans for the future.

Dow is trying to get the parole board's decision overruled through a letter he's writing to Governor Gavin Newsom.

The victim's family is asking for the decision to be overturned too.

"He's a tremendous risk to the community's safety and he can't get out," Pignatelli said.

The decision could become final in 120 days.

"We believe and we ask the board to keep him in," Dow said. "We do believe he's an unreasonable risk to the community if he's released."

"He's going to be out in the general public and I don't want my kids or anybody else in my family to be harmed," Pignatelli concluded.

If the decision is not overturned by the Governor he could be released within 5 months.

We reached out to Prokop's lawyer for comment but have not yet heard back.