SANTA ANA, Calif. – A paroled murderer was convicted today of armed robbery and initiating a police pursuit four months after his release from prison.
|Defendant||Maximum Sentence||Court Date|
|Chandler Emile Graham, 54, Los Angeles||48 years and eight months in state prison||Sentencing and trial on prior convictions
|Felony counts Graham was found guilty of by a jury on
May 5, 2017:
Sentencing enhancement found true:
“Chandler Graham is a classic example of why the Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) opposes the early release of convicted felons and dedicates so much time, effort, and energy into keeping lifers behind bars,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “We hope that the Board of Parole and the Governor consider the lessons learned from this case. Within months of the Board of Parole approving his early release, Graham was back to committing crimes and endangering lives. OCDA will continue to support public safety by fighting to keep criminals in jail,” said Rackauckas.
- In May 2015, Graham was released on parole from his life sentence in prison after being convicted in 1995 of second degree murder.
- In that case, the defendant had been contacted by a police officer while drinking in his car and fled from the officer. Graham crashed head-on into the victim's car during a high-speed police pursuit, killing the man.
- The murder victim was on his way to lunch with his wife of 40 years to celebrate his last day of work before retirement. He had three children, and had become a grandparent and great-grandparent.
- OCDA opposed his parole, which was granted by the Board of Parole Hearings (Panel).
- The Panel concluded at his December 2014 hearing that the inmate, “would not pose an unreasonable risk of danger or a threat to public safety if released from prison.”
- Another factor in the Panel's decision was Graham's lack of prison rules violations during his 20 years served, which they considered significant.
Circumstances of the Case
- On Sept. 21, 2015, four months after his release, Graham robbed a Lake Forest credit union teller at gunpoint while wearing a disguise, and fled in a vehicle he did not have permission to drive.
- Orange County Sheriff's Department deputies located the defendant driving on Interstate 5 North soon after the robbery.
- Graham initiated a high-speed pursuit, narrowly avoiding several cars and continuing after colliding with a curb.
- The defendant evaded police on surface streets by running red lights and stop signs.
- Graham discarded the gun and the stolen bank funds by throwing them out of the car window during the course of the pursuit, and they were later recovered by police.
- The defendant was arrested in Tustin when he stopped the vehicle in the road.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos is prosecuting this case.
*Defendant was previously convicted of crashing into and killing a man while fleeing from police in 1995
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 15HF1090 / May 05, 2017