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Gov. Newsom grants clemency to Santa Barbara County man convicted of murder

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Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 16:41:40-04

Governor Gavin Newsom granted clemency to 26 inmates Friday.

Of the 26, five were pardons and 21 commutations, one being a Santa Barbara County man convicted of murder in 2009.

In 2006, Kristopher Blehm of Lompoc was 22-years-old when his crime partner confronted a man named Kenneth Sosa in Lompoc. Blehm's partner then killed Sosa after shooting him multiple times.

Blehm was sentenced to 25 years to life for murder on Dec. 3, 2009. He is now 35 years old and has been incarcerated for 12 years.

In the clemency order, Gov. Newsom states that Blehm has since dedicated his time in prison to rehabilitation.

Blehm has a perfect disciplinary record in prison, has earned his GED and participated in extensive self-help programming.

He also currently participates in New Life K9s, a service dog training program. The order adds that Blehm was also commended for his work by a correctional lieutenant.

The clemency order by Gov. Newsom emphasized that the commutation of sentence does not minimize or forgive Blehm's conduct, but does recognize the work he has done since to transform himself.