Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected parole for Rene “Boxer” Enriquez, a former gang shot-caller who is serving life in prison for two 1989 murders, overruling a December decision by the state’s parole board to grant the ex-gang member his freedom.
In a three-page letter issued April 12, Newsom called Enriquez, 56, “dangerous” but commended his cooperation with law enforcement and participation in rehab programs. He noted that Enriquez has not been disciplined for more than 15 years and has remained violence-free for more than two decades.
“Although Mr. Enriquez has debriefed from the Mexican Mafia, his extensive history of callous violence, as well as the strikingly high number of those violent crimes on countless victims, remain a relevant risk factor for his future violence,” Newsom wrote.
“I encourage him to continue down this path of self-development and insight. However, given his current risk to public safety, I am not prepared to approve his release.”
Enriquez will get another chance at parole next year.
In the meantime, he continues to serve his sentence at Ironwood State Prison, about 100 miles east of Palm Springs. He ordered the killing of drug dealer Cynthia Gavaldon, who he suspected was stealing from him. He also shot a member of the Mexican Mafia in the back of the head five times after injecting the man with heroin.
Enriquez’s criminal history also includes jailhouse attacks on other inmates, including a sexual assault, drug sales, burglary and nearly two dozen counts of robbery.
In recent years, Enriquez has disavowed his violent past and become a law enforcement ally by filming training videos, lecturing at conferences and cooperating with investigators.
That close relationship was the subject of controversy in 2015 after the Los Angeles Police Department invited Enriquez to appear at a downtown L.A. event, where he spoke with business leaders. The high security for the event was paid for with tax dollars, although organizers offered to reimburse the city after the media covered the event.