Hugo “Yogi” Pinell, who was stabbed to death Wednesday in a maximum-security yard at California State Prison, Sacramento, in Folsom sought parole 10 times before his death, most recently in May 2014.
The 191-page transcript of Pinell’s bid for parole, which was denied, offers a glimpse into the starkly different perceptions of the man.
In the hearing, Pinell offers himself up as a reformed criminal who weeps as he describes his devotion to his mother, and as a man whose worst crime was hitting a woman on a San Francisco street in 1964, then later having consensual sex with her in a case that resulted in him being convicted of rape.
If given the chance to see his victim again, Pinell said, he would “give her a hug and say I’m sorry.”
Prosecutors who opposed his parole described him in different terms, saying he brutally killed one prison guard by luring him to his cell door, then stabbing him through the jugular vein, and slit the throats of others during an escape attempt. One former prosecutor submitted a letter calling Pinell “the most sadistic and dangerous man” he had encountered in his law enforcement career.
Pinell’s attorney, Keith Wattley, has said corrections officials erred when they released Pinell into general population on July 29 despite knowing that he would be targeted for death by rival gang leaders.
Corrections officials released the transcript Friday, noting that Wattley argued for his client to be paroled or, alternatively, be released from solitary confinement.