Gov. Newsom pardoned a woman who was convicted as a teen of killing her sex trafficker.

A victim of juvenile sex trafficking who spent nearly two decades in prison after killing her abuser and pimp has been pardoned by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Who is Sara Kruzan?

At the age of 16, Sara Kruzan, now 44, shot George G. Howard, then 36, as he attempted to sexually abuse her in a Riverside motel.

Kruzan, who is now a leading voice for prison reform, was a victim of Howard’s years-long sex trafficking beginning when she was 13 years old.

Petition drives and rallies were launched in her honor in an effort to get her conviction overturned and restore her freedom. Actresses Demi Moore and Mira Sorvino were among her supporters.

Sara Kruzan

The governor stated in Kruzan’s pardon, which was issued by Newsom on Friday, that “She made changes in her life and committed herself to volunteering.

This leniency shown to Ms. Kruzan does not downplay or excuse her behavior or the harm it caused. It does acknowledge the self-transformation work she has since done.”

Kruzan shot Howard in the neck in 1994. She took his sports car and $1,500 in cash before abandoning him to die on the hotel room floor.

According to Newsom’s pardon, she was convicted of first-degree murder in 1995 when she was just 17 years old and received a life sentence without the chance of parole.

Kruzan’s sentence was reduced to 25 years to life in prison five years later, in December 2010, according to the pardon.

Kruzan was resentenced in 2013 to a total of 19 years in prison, which included 15 years to life for second-degree murder and a four-year firearm enhancement. After spent 18 years in prison, she was freed.

Sara Kruzan, a sex trafficking victim who killed her pimp in 1994, was sentenced to over 20 years in prison. In Riverside, California, she shot George G. Howard when she was 16 years old as he attempted to sexually abuse her.

Kruzan was pardoned on July 1, 2022, by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
She “has provided proof that she is leading an ethical life and has proved her suitability for restoration of civic rights and responsibilities,” according to the pardon from Newsom.

Kruzan’s pardon was among 17 Newsom issued on Friday, along with 15 commutations and one medical reprieve, according to a statement from the governor’s office. Newsom has presided over 129 pardons, 123 commutations, and 35 reprieves.

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