One of the three teens convicted of the 1995 murder of 15-year-old Elyse Pahler of Arroyo Grande won’t be released from prison.
Royce Casey was granted parole suitability earlier this year, but San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow tells KSBY he was informed Sunday that Governor Gavin Newsom had reversed the parole board’s decision.
At 17-years-old, Casey was the oldest of the trio at the time of Pahler’s murder. He's now 43.
Jacob Delashmutt was 16-years-old and Joseph Fiorella was 15 when they killed Pahler.
All three have been behind bars for more than two decades now.
After being granted parole suitability, the Board of Parole hearings staff had 90 days to look at the facts and then the governor had 30 days to review it and decide what’s next.
That meant Casey could have been released from Valley State Prison in Chowchilla this summer.
Dow penned a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom in early June asking him to deny Casey's parole.
Pahler was brutally murdered in July of 1995. The three boys responsible followed the lyrics to a death metal band.
“They really felt strongly that they needed to sacrifice a blonde-haired blue-eyed virgin girl and that would help them in their music careers,” said Allen Hutkin, the Pahler family's attorney.
Eight months later, Casey led authorities to Pahler’s remains on the Nipomo Mesa just a quarter-mile from her parents’ home.
Hutkin said the family felt OK about Casey’s potential release. “He's shown remorse. He's been apologetic, and he's done everything right and really tried to reform himself,” he said, adding that Casey has been an honor inmate and earned a college degree.
KSBY News reached out to Casey in prison but has not yet heard back.
If released, he was reportedly planning to move to Los Angeles and work in drug counseling.
Casey’s lawyer, Kevin McReynolds, said in a previous statement, "Had we known then what we know now about adolescent brain development, Royce’s case would likely have remained in the juvenile justice system. Nevertheless, his transformation over the past 24 years has been the most genuine and profound that I have ever witnessed. He has so much to offer. I look forward to learning more from him.”
The two others convicted of murdering Elyse Pahler also have upcoming parole suitability hearings. For Jacob Delashmutt, it’s scheduled for December of 2024. Joseph Fiorella has a hearing tentatively scheduled for July of 2022 after voluntarily waiving his right to a hearing for one year.