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April 10, 2013


Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — fayarfa @ 12:14 am

SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, denied the parole for an inmate who was convicted of bludgeoning and murdering a man he lured into a Laguna Hills trail under the guise of a sexual encounter. Charles Burke, 48, is currently being held at the California State Prison, Solano in Vacaville, CA. Burke was sentenced Feb. 5, 1988, to 25 years to life in state prison, after he was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder and one felony count of attempted robbery. This case was originally prosecuted by former Deputy District Attorney Edward Munoz.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche attended the hearing April 5, 2013, to oppose Burke’s parole. Burke will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2016.

Murder of Gregory McGowan

On the night of Aug. 11, 1985, 20-year-old Burke and a friend were in a restaurant and consuming alcohol. The victim, Gregory McGowan, approached Burke for a ride home in exchange for some beers. Burke agreed to leave with the victim and lured him down a dark path with the intention of robbing and assaulting the victim for “making eyes at him.” Burke stopped to urinate and, when he turned around, he saw that the victim had dropped his pants and underwear. Burke became angry and hit the victim with a nearby rock. When McGowan fought back, Burke repeatedly bludgeoned the victim on the head with a heavy rock, leaving McGowan unrecognizable when he was found in a Laguna Hills field by the police. McGowan had to be identified through fingerprints.

Burke murdered the victim by beating him and fled the scene. He later confided in his girlfriend what he had done, and she eventually turned him in to police. When interviewed, Burke told police officers that he killed McGowan because he was “gay.”


Threat to Public Safety and Need for Further Insight

In a letter of opposition to the Board, the People state, “The inmate has an unstable social history which includes a substance abuse dating back to the age of 18. The inmate admits to using alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine. The inmate’s substance abuse was a causative factor in his discharge from the Unites States Marine Corps. The inmate claims he was under the influence of alcohol and LSD at the time of the life offense. Even in the controlled and structured environment provided by CDCR, the inmate has continued his substance abuse while incarcerated.”

While incarcerated, Burke violated prison rules in 1992 by manufacturing Pruno, a homemade alcohol made from fermented fruit.

The People further argued in their opposition letter, “The most current Psychological Risk Assessment report… Dr. Reynoso opines that the inmate represents a low to moderate risk of committing future violent acts…the inmate still needs to further examine the reasons why he needed to exert such extreme violence towards the victim, as well as resolve his reasons why he felt the need to choose a victim he perceived as being weaker due to the victim’s sexual preference.”

Burke cannot adhere to the rules and regulations of his environment while incarcerated and lacks sufficient insight into his life crime, which demonstrates the serious threat he poses to public safety and shows that he needs to remain in prison.

Orange County District Attorney Press Release / For Immediate Release / April 9, 2013

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