Sara Kruzan, a woman who killed her pimp as he attempted to initiate sex with her in 1994, will likely soon be released, as California Gov. Jerry Brown decided not to fight the action of the state board. The state board granted parole to Kruzan Friday; the 35-year-old woman has served 19 years in prison.
Sara Kruzan was only 11 when she first began being sexually abused by the man who would become her pimp at age 13. At 16, she shot and killed her pimp and stole $1,500 and his Jaguar keys from his Riverside hotel room. Prosecutors at the 1995 case argued that another pimp had convinced her to do the crime, but the jury never heard evidence of her rape and abuse, according to SaraKruzan.com.
Kruzan was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.
However, her case gained notoriety and publicity after a YouTube video by Human Rights Watch, according to the Associated Press. Then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted her sentence to 25-years-to-life on his last day of office in 2011.
"Given Ms. Kruzan's age at the time of the murder, and considering the significant abuse she suffered at his hands, I believe Mr. Kruzan's sentence is excessive," Gov. Schwarzenegger wrote, adding that he still considered her guilty. "It is apparent that Ms. Kruzan suffered significant abuse starting at a vulnerable age."
Then in January, a judge reduced the first-degree murder charge to second-degree, which made her eligible for parole. Kruzan's case has been used as a model by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who works to soften harsh sentences for juvenile offenders.
"It is justice long overdue," he told the Los Angeles Times. Kruzan's case is a "perfect example of adults who failed her, of society failing her. You had a predator who stalked her, raped her, forced her into prostitution, and there was no one around."
Kruzan, who is being held at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, could be released within the next few days.